An Iliad Q&A with Brian Vaughn

An Iliad Q&A with Brian Vaughn

Who is your favorite character? How do you prepare for this demanding role? Do you think this is an anti-war play? Who are the "good guys" and the "bad guys"? Why is The Muse part of this play? Why is this play important to us today? These are all questions we were able to recently ask Artistic Director Brian Vaughn about his role in An Iliad. We think you will find his answers thought provoking and stimulating.

Festival Adds An Iliad Performances

Festival Adds An Iliad Performances

In an effort to make what many are calling “the favorite production of the season” even more available, the Utah Shakespeare Festival has announced additional performances of the spellbinding play An Iliad. The largely one-person show, featuring Artistic Director Brian Vaughn as The Poet, is currently playing in the Randall L. Jones Theatre, but numerous additional performances have been added in the intimate Anes Studio Theatre.

Thanks for the Great Company

Thanks for the Great Company

In Part Three of John's Ahlin's blog on playing the role of Sir John Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, he writes about the amazing actors he is working with, including a funny scene that was made funnier by an experienced actor, a swig of sack, and a rare combination of temperature and dew point. He also has some seasoned advice for young actors.



The Simpsons Writer to Visit the Festival

The Simpsons Writer to Visit the Festival

Mike Reiss, writer and producer for the wildly popular animated television show The Simpsons, will be at the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University August 29–31. While here, he will be workshopping his hilarious play Shakespeare’s Worst! A Play on a Play as part of the Festival’s Words Cubed new play readings, as well as participating in a lecture/presentation and book signing.

Festival to Unveil Lady Macbeth Statue

Festival to Unveil Lady Macbeth Statue

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.

Festival Schedules Military Appreciation Days

Festival Schedules Military Appreciation Days

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.


Desire the Spleen: Bringing out the Humors in Falstaff

Desire the Spleen: Bringing out the Humors in Falstaff

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."


The Liar: A Summary in Verse

The Liar: A Summary in Verse

"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.


Words Cubed New Plays Scheduled

Words Cubed New Plays Scheduled

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.

The Big Sir: Thoughts on Falstaff and the Festival

The Big Sir: Thoughts on Falstaff and the Festival

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.

Wooden O Brings Scholars to Festival

Wooden O Brings Scholars to Festival

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.

The Iliad: Fact or Splendid Fiction?

The Iliad: Fact or Splendid Fiction?

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?

Who Were Achilles and Hector?

Who Were Achilles and Hector?

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.

Announcing the 2019 Season

Announcing the 2019 Season

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.

Festival Cancels 2018 Production of Pearl’s in the House

Festival Cancels 2018 Production of Pearl’s in the House

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 . . .


Keeping Up with the Lancasters

Keeping Up with the Lancasters

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!

Why Shakespeare Rewrote History

Why Shakespeare Rewrote History

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?

The Merchant of Cedar City

The Merchant of Cedar City

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. . . .

Bookends of Villiany

Bookends of Villiany

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. . . .


The Top (Under) Dog

The Top (Under) Dog

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.


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