A life-size statue of Lady Macbeth will soon join eight other Shakespearean characters at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The latest installment in the Pedersen Shakespeare Character Garden will be unveiled August 21 at 11:30 a.m.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival will be celebrating our Armed Forces with free tickets for military personnel to selected performances on September 4–7. The Festival appreciates the sacrifices of the men and women who serve and wants to recognize their dedication and commitment to this country.
In Part Two of John's Ahlin's blog on playing the role of Sir John Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, he tackles the comedy of the corpulent knight: "Being funny on demand is like trying to get the hiccups on purpose—difficult. So imagine the butterflies an actor feels, about to enter as Falstaff. . . . Backstage before a comedy, some actors will want to draw up both knees and go fetal, but to me the trick is to grab those knees, yell 'Cannonball!' and jump right in."
"Twins, disguise, and maidens who conspire / Are all a part of this season's The Liar! / Now, all these shenanigans might make you dizzy; / So let this rhymed synopsis keep you busy." Festival writer and blogger Kathryn Neves puts her tongue firmly in her cheek and tells the story of The Liar in rhymed verse, the same style as the play being presented starting September 14.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Words Cubed program for new plays is set to introduce audiences to two very different plays this season: Gertrude and Claudius,a prequel to Hamlet,will play August 24, 25, and 30 and September 1. Shakespeare’s Worst! A Play on a Play,a hilarious retelling of The Two Gentlemen of Verona,will be performed August 29 and 31.
Actor John Ahlin played a very memorable Sir John Falstaff in 2015 in the Festival production of Henry IV Part Two and has returned this year to play the role of the lovable old knight in The Merry Wives of Windsor. And he has agreed to provide a few posts on our blog about his feelings about Falstaff, the play, and the Festival. "The Big Sir: Thoughts on the Honor of Acting at the Utah Shakespeare Festival" is his first installment.
Scholars from across the United States and beyond will be gathering in Cedar City August 6–8 to discuss “The Other in Shakespeare.” Now in its seventeenth year, the Wooden O Symposium, sponsored by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University will host a number of scholars who will present papers and speak about a diverse range of subjects.
Almost everyone knows the basic story: the beautiful Helen, Paris of Troy, strong Achilles, and noble Hector. We all know about the River Styx and the thousand ships and the Trojan Horse. But at the center of all this splendid storytelling is one question: did the Trojan War really happen? Did it happen, or was it only a story? There's no way Homer's poem is true, is there? Is there any fact at all to The Iliad?
This season's An Iliad is full of amazing stories, themes, poetry, and settings. But more than anything, this play is full of amazing characters. Even though every character is portrayed by one man, The Poet (played by Brian Vaughn), each of Homer's original warriors and soldiers and kings come to life in a way that you don't see too often. Two characters, especially, drive the heart of the story: Trojan Hector, and Greek Achilles.
The 2018 season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival opens next week, but Festival administrators are already looking ahead to 2019. Themed around families, the 2019 season will feature eight (or depending how you count, nine) plays from June 27 to October 12, 2019. In an effort to make it easy for loyal Festival guests to order their tickets well in advance, tickets will go on sale July 6.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival has announced that it has cancelled the 2018 production of Pearl’s in the House.
Citing culturally insensitive communications issued by the guest director/creator of Pearl’s in the House regarding casting, the Utah Shakespeare Festival issued the following . . .
The last few years have seen a rise in British family dramas. With shows like The Crown and Downton Abbey, it's easy to see why complicated families make such entertaining stories. But this isn't a new trend— no, it goes all the way back to Shakespeare!
The lineup of plays this season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival is looking to be one of the most exciting yet— especially with the continuation of the History Cycle. Henry VI Part One is a play you may not get the chance to see elsewhere. But with this play comes one important question— why is it so different from what really happened?
Since the very first year of the Festival, audiences have fallen in love over and over again with Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. It’s an appealing love story wrapped around a complex, fascinating study of religious and social tensions. And because of its popularity, the Festival has produced it a number of times! From fun and farcical to deep and complex, this play has evolved in its Cedar City productions over the years. . . .
Shakespeare's villains are some of the most complicated, realistic characters in theatre. Truthfully, they can sometimes be more compelling than their heroic counterparts. And nowhere is that more true than this season at the Festival. This year, two of Shakespeare's most infamous villains take the stage— the bitter Jewish moneylender Shylock, and the jealous, manipulative ensign Iago. . . .
Charlie, the lead character in The Foreigner, says at one point in the play: “We—all of us, we're becoming—we're making one another complete, and alive." Such optimism and hope are difficult to confine, and audience members tend to leave with the theatre with some stashed in their pockets and their hearts, which is perhaps the real reason The Foreigner triumphs.
Shakespeare's Othello is a complex play, and one of the most interesting topics within it is the idea of interracial marriage. With a black Othello and a white Desdemona being at the center of an immense tragedy, audiences for centuries have wondered about the implications of their relationship. An interracial marriage in the sixteenth century? It seems impossible, but . . .
Big River is so entertaining and full of good ol’ American fun and catchy music that you’ll probably dance out of the theatre when you see it this summer. Its harmonicas, guitars, banjos, and swinging dance numbers will have you humming and whistling all summer long. And yet underneath this lighthearted, old fashioned fun lies something much more serious, and much more important.
There’s no better example of a mischievous, carefree boy than Huckleberry Finn. After all, who can forget all of his crazy antics and adventures with Tom Sawyer in Mark Twain’s two famous novels? But in this season’s Festival production of Big River, we get to see young Huck in a different genre and a new light. Big Riveris a coming of age story; it’s about Huckleberry Finn learning what it means to grow up.
If there’s one rule to writing, it’s this: write what you know. As for the best writer in all of English literature, William Shakespeare definitely followed that rule too. See it for yourself in this season’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. William Shakespeare put references to his times and life into all of his plays, but nowhere is that more obvious than in this zany comedy.
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