Speaking of Shakespeare Link

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We're savoring a presentation of The Tempest that took place August 23-31 at the SANTA FE BOTANICAL GARDEN. More than 1500 enthusiastic attendees enjoyed a production that featured superb acting, entrancing music and special effects, and an extraordinary stage and set. To learn more about SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN, read the informative background article by Jennifer Levin and the judicious review by James M. Keller in Pasatiempo, and then click on the blue links that follow.

This production of The Tempest was brilliantly directed by Nagle Jackson, who helped artistic director Rachel Kelly preside over several seasons of SHAKESPEARE IN SANTA FE between 1997 and 2002. Mr. Jackson returned to La Tierra Encantada in 2013 for a sprightly St. John's College medley that proved to be a complete Delight, indeed one that Mr. Keller described in Pasatiempo as that summer's "most endearing revival." Mr. Jackson's 2017 Tempest took place in a magic circle that evoked such august predecessors as the Greek amphitheaters of classical antiquity, the "Wooden O" that Shakespeare depicts in his prologue to Henry V, and the Zia Sun Symbol that adorns New Mexico's elegant state flag. Pulsating with reminders that an aging playwright was scripting his valedictory drama in London at the same time that European adventurers were seeking to establish a "brave new world" in a terrain that had long been occupied by earlier settlers, this rendering of a classic score proved especially engaging for residents of the American Southwest. As they observed Caliban's attempt to remove Prospero and regain an "island" over which he himself once held sway, for example, many were reminded that in 1680, seven decades after the founding of what would eventually become the oldest capital city in the United States, Pueblo tribes rebelled against their Spanish overlords, regaining control of the region for a dozen years before being compelled to yield it back in 1692.

For background about The Tempest, see the foreword that Sir John Gielgud generously contributed to Mr. Andrews' 1994 Everyman Shakespeare edition of the play, as well as the Editor's Introduction that followed it. You might also enjoy listening to Ellen Berkovitch's KSFR radio feature about SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN, as well as conversations with KVSF host Richard Eads and KBAC host Honey Harris. And finally, you might be interested in a couple of letters that appreciative attendees published in the New Nexican.

The GUILD will soon be launching its 2017-18 SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE season. Already on tap are dialogues at Manhattan's Nstional Arts Club on Friday, October 6, with educator Joanna Read, who heads LAMDA, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, on Wednesday, October 18, with Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks, and on Monday, November 6, with WNET executive Stephen Segaller. Additional programs will be announced in the near future.

On June 12 the GUILD completed its 2016-17 SOS season with an informative conversation that featured arts executive Julian Bird. Mr. Bird oversees both the Society of London Theatre, the producers' organization that presents the West End's Olivier Awards each spring, and UK Theatre, a consortium, formerly known as the Theatrical Management Association (TMA), that represents performing-arts institutions throughout the United Kingdom. UK Theatre now hosts the GUILD's annual GIELGUD AWARD festivities, and he and Mr. Andrews will soon be announcing details about this year's GIELGUD ceremony, to occur on Sunday, October 15, in London's historic Guildhall.

Speaking of Sir John, we're pleased to note that on April 27 two GIELGUD awardees (Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen) took part in a ceremony at which an English Heritage plaque was placed on the Cowley Street residence that had been Sir John's home from 1945 to 1976. The man behind this memorial to Sir John's legacy was John Miller, a distinguished biographer and arts presenter who serves on the GUILD's Advisory Council. He presided over a celebratory gathering that included eloquent remarks not only by Dame Judi but by playwright Sir David Hare and actor Michael Pennington. Click here to watch the unveiling in a Facebook video that has been kindly made available to the Guild by Christian Bace of English Heritage.

We opened the second half of our 2016-17 SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE series at the National Arts Club on January 18 and February 22 with Jean E. Howard of Columbia University and Shane Ann Younts of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. A few weeks later, on March 22, we chatted with Sarah Enloe of the American Shakespeare Center. On April 26 and 27 we enjoyed richly informative engagements with film historian Samuel Crowl and director Karin Coonrod. Our dialogue with Ms. Coonrod was a sequel to a March 2016 conversation that focused on a historic July 2016 production of "The Merchant of Venice." We revisited not only the performance itself, but a timely symposium (with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presiding over deliberations that featured F. Murray Abraham, Stephen Greenblatt, and James Shapiro) that was covered by the New York Times. The following month, on Thursday, May 25, we put the spotlight on arts patron Nancy Zeckendorf.

During 2016 our signature SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE series at Manhattan's National Arts Club featured scintillating conversations with producer Ralph Alan Cohen, who introduced NAC constituents to the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia; director Karin Coonrod, who previewed a high-profile Merchant in Venice that marked the 500th anniversary of the original Ghetto; writers Alison Gopnik of the University of California at Berkeley and her brother Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker, who talked about the importance of play in early childhood development; Shakespeare Survey editor Peter Holland of the University of Notre Dame, who shared trenchant observations about a number of recent developments; educator Peggy O'Brien of the Folger Shakespeare Library, who talked about the support she and her colleagues provide for teachers and students around the nation; University of London professor Kiernan Ryan, who offered a new way of thinking about Shakespeare's "universality"; and director Louis Scheeder of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, who described the kinds of preparation that are essential for aspiring drama professionals.

For information about the first half of our 2015-16 season, which featured programs with John Lahr and James Shapiro, click here; for links to highlights of previous seasons, click here. If you wish to join and receive periodic updates from THE SHAKSPEARE GUILD, we invite you to visit our Membership page for types of affiliation. There you'll find a link to a page where you can register for events, enroll as a GUILD member, or provide a tax-exempt donation.