“We know what we are, but know not what we may be”

Shakespeare’s text continues to spread across the country. September is the second month in the 2018-2019 season of Shakespeare in American Communities as theater companies begin to impact the next generation with his words. Here are the plays being produced in September 2018 and experienced by thousands of students.

Introduction to historical figures

Richard III at Cal Shakes, directed by Eric Ting, and presented in the historical context of The War of the Roses.

Henry V at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Rosa Joshi, and performed on at their Thomas Theatre.

Delight in the comedies

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Alliance Theatre in a site-specific version at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, directed by David Catlin; touring nationally with Aquila Theatre Company, and performed by Nebraska Shakespeare as part of their Shakespeare on Tour program.

As You Like It performed in the woods of Wisconsin by American Players Theatre, directed by James Bohnen, and explored through English Renaissance Staging, directed by Ralph Alan Cohen, by the American Shakespeare Center.

Measure for Measure another production performed by American Players Theatre, directed by Risa Brainin, that introduces students to the beauty and vitality of Shakespeare.

The cast of Cal Shakes’ production of Richard III. Photo courtesy of Cal Shakes.
The cast of Cal Shakes’ production of Richard III. Photo courtesy of Cal Shakes.

Experiencing tragedy

Macbeth performed for numerous students, including youths in the juvenile justice system, by Actors’ Shakespeare Project, directed by Dawn Meredith Simmons, and at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival as part of their Shakespeare in Violence Prevention program.

Romeo and Juliet performed by Tennessee Shakespeare Company for every freshman class in the Shelby County School System.

Othello at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Bill Rauch, and performed on at their Angus Bowmer Theatre.

To experience the words of Shakespeare the way they were meant to be. It may be some of these students’ first time feeling these words and having them come alive from the page to the stage or perhaps they find themselves in the characters they have yet to experience. This is the beginning of their life that will be filled with history, comedy, and tragedy that will shape them as a person. To have these words from over 400 years ago still be relevant today is remarkable. We look forward to the continued sharing of William Shakespeare’s plays throughout this season.

“Seeing live performance brought a lot of emotions to life. Everything felt real.” 
Response from a student at Aviation Career & Technical Education High School in Long Island City, NY, after seeing the 2017 production of The Comedy of Errors by Classic Stage Company.

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