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Shakespeare in Delaware Park Opens

Shakespeare in Delaware Park opens

Shakespeare in Delaware Park opens
Patrick Moltane plays the title role in Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s production of “Henry V.” 

on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 9:46 AM, updated: 3:04 PM

It’s hard to miss the symbolism in Karen Tashjian’s set for the Shakespeare in Delaware Park production of “Henry V” opening Thursday night.

Streaks of blood-red paint stretch across jet-black walls and columns as if flicked from the paintbrush of some gargantuan Jackson Pollock. The set will serve as the backdrop for the bloody Battle of Agincourt, one of the most famous confrontations in military history, in which the English king leads his outnumbered army to victory over their heavily armored French opponents.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park founder and director Saul Elkin chose “Henry V,” which the company produced once before, in 1987, out of an affinity for Shakespeare’s English history plays and for its title character.

“I chose it really because I loved the ‘Henry IV’ plays that preceded it, and I had played Falstaff in both of them,” Elkin said on a recent afternoon in Delaware Park as actors prepared for the production’s first dress rehearsal. “I loved the idea of this young, profligate prince assuming the throne.”

The King Henry of this production, played by Patrick Moltane, is an older and wiser version of the irresponsible Prince Hal who appeared in the two “Henry IV” plays. His story speaks to the challenges of overcoming the errors and indiscretions of one’s youth, of taking up the mantle of responsibility and of growing into a better and more honorable human being.

“Henry V” has produced vastly different interpretations. In his 1944 film adaptation, Lawrence Olivier struck a deeply patriotic chord and, according to New York Times film critic Vincent Canby, served as “a celebration of monarchy as well as a reminder of Britain’s place on the European Continent.” Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 film, by contrast, shied away from patriotic bluster to focus on the main character’s inner conflicts and has been viewed by some as a critique of English imperialism.

Elkin, for his part, is sticking with the traditional approach.

“I’m making a hero of him,” Elkin said. “I’m not going to deal with the imperialist notion.”

Though Elkin said he didn’t choose the play to mirror any contemporary issues, it’s not likely to escape most theatergoers that the production comes on the heels of the 70th anniversary of D-Day and at a time when a troubling military flare-up is unfolding in Iraq. Now more than usual, many Americans are preoccupied with the rhetoric of war as a glorious, patriotic or economically advantageous endeavor.

Some of the language we associate with valiant wars comes directly from “Henry V,” including the king’s insistence during the play’s first battle that his soldiers head “once more unto the breach.” Another pep talk before the play’s main battle contains Henry’s famous St. Crispin’s Day speech, in which he rallies his fellow soldiers by assuring them a place in history:

“And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, / From this day to the ending of the world, / But we in it shall be remembered / We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”

Though Shakespeare wrote the play so the battles take place offstage, Elkin and fight choreographer Steve Vaughan have staged highly stylized battle scenes set to music and meant to work in concert with the stylized look of the set.

“We don’t have what Kenneth Branagh had. He hired the Yugoslav Army, or whatever,” Elkin said with a chuckle. “I don’t have that.”

Though he’s keeping the approach largely minimalist, actors playing English soldiers will wield actual longbows on loan from the Hawkeye Bowmen archery club in Marilla, while French soldiers will wear steel breastplates that costume designer Ken Shaw found online for about $40 each.

But in general, Elkin stressed, theatergoers should bring their imaginations to the production, which – aside from being significantly shorter – is presented in a spare manner meant to evoke its original production.

“ ‘Henry V’ is a chapter in English history that’s sort of complicated and it revolves around two famous battles in France. In Shakespeare’s day, obviously, there was no way to be literal about that and there is a chorus who keeps reminding us that this is a stage, use your imagination, think when we speak of horses that you see them and so on,” Elkin said. “What I did was reduce the possibility of any kind of literal theater. I tried, in a way, to make it a stage.”

email: cdabkowski@buffnews.com

Shakespeare in Delaware Park to host adult classes

By Aaron Mason, News 4 Executive Producer

Published: 

 

SDP to offer Adult Classes

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Here’s your chance to step into the world of William Shakespeare.

For the first time, Shakespeare in Delaware Park will be offering summer classes for adults.

Veteran Shakespeare actor and director Eileen Dugan will lead two nights of classes for adults 18 and over on Mondays, culminating with a class performance on the Shakespeare stage in Delaware Park before an evening performance. No previous experience is required.

Two sessions of classes will take place. Session One will be held on June 23rd and 30th from 6 to 8 p.m. leading up to the July 2nd performance of Henry V. Session Two classes will take place on July 28th and August 4th. Students will perform August 8th before a production of The Comedy of Errors.

Tuition for both sessions is $200. For more information, call 856-4533.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park is a not-for-profit, professional theatre company that has been entertaining summer audiences in Western New York since 1976. It is the second largest outdoor Shakespeare festival in the country, behind only New York City.

This year’s schedule features Henry V from June 19th to July 13th, and The Comedy of Errors from July 24th to August 17th. Performances take place Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m., weather permitting.

http://wivb.com/2014/05/05/shakespeare-in-delaware-park-to-host-classes/

Shakespeare in Delaware Park to host adult classes

Shakespeare in Delaware Park to host adult classes

By Aaron Mason, News 4 Executive ProducerUpdated: Published: 
Courtesy: ShakespeareInDelawarePark.org
Courtesy: ShakespeareInDelawarePark.org

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Here’s your chance to step into the world of William Shakespeare.

For the first time, Shakespeare in Delaware Park will be offering summer classes for adults.

Veteran Shakespeare actor and director Eileen Dugan will lead two nights of classes for adults 18 and over on Mondays, culminating with a class performance on the Shakespeare stage in Delaware Park before an evening performance. No previous experience is required.

Two sessions of classes will take place. Session One will be held on June 23rd and 30th from 6 to 8 p.m. leading up to the July 2nd performance of Henry V. Session Two classes will take place on July 28th and August 4th. Students will perform August 8th before a production of The Comedy of Errors.

Tuition for both sessions is $200. For more information, call 856-4533.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park is a not-for-profit, professional theatre company that has been entertaining summer audiences in Western New York since 1976. It is the second largest outdoor Shakespeare festival in the country, behind only New York City.

This year’s schedule features Henry V from June 19th to July 13th, and The Comedy of Errors from July 24th to August 17th. Performances take place Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m., weather permitting.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park Announces ShakesperIENCED!! Summer Shakespeare Classes for ADULTS

PRESS RELEASE

 PLEASE POST

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Lisa Ludwig or Tracy Snyder, 856-4533                      

May 2014                          

Shakespeare in Delaware Park Announces ShakesperIENCED!!

Summer Shakespeare Classes for ADULTS

 

This summer, for the first time, Shakespeare in Delaware Park will be offering classes to adults!  If you have ever had the itch to” trod the boards”, have fond memories of acting in school or community shows, ever had a curiosity about what actors do, or how Shakespeare works—-this is for you!   One of our Shakespeare veterans, Eileen Dugan (actor/ director and educator), will be holding classes this summer, and adults 18 and over.   There will be two nights of classes on Mondays, culminating with a class performance on the Shakespeare stage before an evening’s Shakespeare In the Park performance.  No previous experience is required.  Class size is limited, so sign up soon—this is your chance to BE or not to be—-on the Shakespeare in Delaware Park stage!

 

Session 1: during the SDP production of  HENRY V

Monday June 23     6-8               (class)

Monday June 30     6-8               (class)

          Wednesday July 2    5:30-7:30     (performance)

 

Session 2: during the SDP production of COMEDY OF ERRORS

Monday July 28      6-8               (class)

Monday Aug 4        6-8               (class)

              Friday Aug 8        5:30-7:30     (performance)

 

 

TUITION: $200   (includes classes / performance and an SDP T-shirt

 

Call 856-4533 (by May 23rd) for more details and to apply for this one of a kind experience.

SHAKESPERIENCED!

Local actors celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday

By 

Cast and crew members of Shakespeare in Delaware Park celebrated the writer’s 450th birthday Wednesday. The group read excerpts of the William Shakespeare’s sonnets, monologues and plays all day in honor of his legacy.

Lisa Ludwig with SDP (L), Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz (M); Tracy Snyder with SDP (M); Saul Elkin with SDP (R).
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

 

Managing Director of Shakespeare in Delaware Park Lisa Ludwig says their mission is to keep Shakespeare’s works alive for years to come.

“People are really daunted by reading Shakespeare, but the thing about Shakespeare is, it’s meant to be seen and heard. I think that’s my passion about Shakespeare in Delaware Park is people of all demographics can come and see it for free. It’s sometimes their first experience to go, ‘Oh now I get it’. I think there’s something for everyone in each one and I think it’s important for everyone to see Shakespeare and not be daunted by reading the text,” said Ludwig.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park founder Saul Elkin says in order for people capture the essence of Shakespeare’s work, they have to see it performed.

“The plays have survived for 450 years. They speak to us every bit as clearly as they spoke to his audience all those years ago,” Elkin said. “The evidence is that when you go to the park and see the plays we perform there, frequently there and children and young people, people who have had no experience with Shakespeare, who understand fully what is going on.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, along with other local lawmakers and leaders, stopped by the celebration to read a passage written by Shakespeare. Poloncarz says the themes in Shakespeare’s works are still relevant today.

 

Actor with Shakespeare in Delaware Park reading an excerpts from William Shakespeare’s works.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

 

“Maybe we’re not dealing with kings and queens, but we do deal with love, loss, and we deal with power grabs by politicians and alike. So, the things that happened in Shakespeare times aren’t really different from where we are today. We may be a lot more technologically advanced, but we still have the same issues. I think it’s important for young people to see that and to learn from it, that what you can read from Shakespeare you can learn a lot about human nature and what’s right and what’s wrong,” said Poloncarz.

Poloncarz says it’s crucial to continue to support Shakespeare in Delaware Park. He says he believes the free theatrical productions are one of the county’s greatest assets.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park reaches over 40,000 people each season. The line-up for its 39th season of free shows was also announced during the event. Henry V will begin running on June 19- July 13 and The Comedy of Errors will be on stage starting on July 23-August 16.

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