Speaking of Shakespeare Link

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SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE PROGRAMS IN MANHATTAN

Our next installment in an SOS series that is now in its third decade will occur at 8 p.m. Monday, January 28, in Manhattan's National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South), where we'll converse with actor, director, producer, and author Dakin Matthews. Dakin is currently appearing in Aaron Sorkin's acclaimed Broadway dramatization of To Kill a Mockingbird, and he'll discuss that and the dozens of other classics in which he has performed. He'll also provide some insights into how an accomplished drama professional approaches the nuances of Shakespeare's verse. More details about this special evening, and about additional attractions between late January and mid-June, will be announced shortly.

We launched the 2018-19 season of our signature program initiative with four remarkable evenings at The Players. On Monday, Seprember 17, we joined Stephen Segaller, WNET's Vice-President for National Programming, producers Richard Denton and Nikki Stockley, and such special guests as actor F. Murray Abraham and Folger director Michael Witmore for a memorable overview about Season Three of Shakespeare Uncovered, an evening that featured previews of the six installments that were to conclude this impressive 18-play series in October. The following week, on Tuesday-Thursday, September 25-27, we joined the Players Foundation to host stage readings of The Lives of Shakespeare, a new trilogy by playwright Mary Jane Schaefer in which she presented diverse perspectives on what Shakespeare might have been like, drawing from historical facts, contemporary anecdotes, and suggestive details in the author's poems and plays.

On Wednesday, October 17, we moved next door to the National Arts Club for an engaging dialogue with Peter Marks, chief theater critic for The Washington Post. Mr. Marks is one of today's most influential arts journalists, and we enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion that addressed not only what is now happening in the Nation's Capital, but what audiences are experiencing in New York, London, and a variety of other theatrical settings.

Our most recent Speaking engagement occurred at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 26, at The Players in Manhattan. In association with a theatrical shrine that was founded by Edwin Booth, we offered a fervent tribute to the Drama Book Shop, an institution whose vital assistance to Broadway, and to the nation's performing-arts community as a whole, has been recegnized by a special Tony Award. Among our eloquent speakers were president Rozanne Seelen and vice-president Allen Lee Hubby of the Shop, actors Jim Dale, Jeffrey Hardy, and Peter Maloney, and writer Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker, who emphasized how essential cultural treasures like these are to the civic health of democratic societies. For vital assistance with this event we were indebted, not only to musical artist Shana Farr of The Players, but to such Shop stalwarts as authors Nancy Reardon and Tom Flynn.

For information about previous highlights in the Guild's two decades of Speaking engagements, click here.

OUR 2018 GIELGUD AWARD FESTIVITIES IN LONDON

We're delighted to report that the recipient of our 2018 Gielgud trophy, presented at a UK Theatre Awards luncheon on October 14 in London's venerable Guildhall, is director, producer, filmmaker, and author Sir Richard Eyre. Sir Richard's riveting television production of King Lear, with Sir Anthony Hopkins in the title role, debuted recently on Amazon Prime Video. Meanwhile his evocative feature film, The Children Act, co-starring Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci and featuring Fionn Whitehead in a screenplay by novelist Ian McEwan, is gripping moviegoers around the globe.

Bestowing this year's award was Sir Ian McKellen, our inaugural Gielgud laureate, who was himself appearing in a West End staging of King Lear that had been shared cinematically with audiences throughout the world. When he received his own trophy, during a ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library on May 20, 1996, Sir Ian had graced the occasion not only with praise for Sir John, but with a powerful recitation from The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore, relating the words that Shakespeare had composed for the script's title character to what Justice Anthony Kennedy had said earlier that day while he was delivering a pivotal Supreme Court ruling that "no state may 'deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.'" As he presented this year's award, Sir Ian recalled how much Gielgud did, not only to exemplify meticulous standards in his own presentations of Shakespeare and other playwrights, but to encourage and support the efforts of other performers, among them those who were just beginning their careers. Sir Ian extolled Richard Eyre for the same qualities, and he emphasized how much everyone who cherishes the dramatic arts has benefited from his many contributions to our cultural lives.

In response, Sir Richard praised McKellen as "a wonderful actor and a very good friend, and the natural artistic son of John Gielgud." And he amplified Sir Ian's remarks about Sir John, observing that Gielgud's focus on building strong repertory ensembles prepared the way for such extraordinary institutions as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. With this in mind he noted, in an aside that was fervently applauded by an appreciative UK Theatre audience, that he was "constantly bewildered by the fact that local authorities and government can't see what an extraordinary, unique asset" such treasures are, not only in London but throughout the United Kingdom.

Among the numerous media accounts of the festivities were stories in BBC News, BT.com, Irish News, and York Press. Click here for some visual highlights of what turned out to be a deeply moving occasion. And click here for background on the Award.

SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN 2018

This summer the Guild co-produced A Midsummer Night's Dream in collaboration with Shakespeare in Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. For details about a show that was warmly welcomed, click here. And for background on the production, see Jennifer Levin's article about "The Ecology of Shakespeare" in the August 17th issue of Pasatiempo. You might also enjoy interviews in which the Garden's Clayton Bass and the Guild's John Andrews talked with KTRC host Richard Eeds and with KSFR host Lynn Cline. And you might be interested in a conversation that Peter Lloyd hosted with musicologist Mary Springfels and Mr. Andrews on KSFR's "Classical Sunday."

To encourage audiences to help sustain the work of a playwright who's now in his 453rd year, we established a Bardtenders support group for SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN. And we offered cultivation events such as a TLC dialogue that took place Tuesday, July 31st. This gathering, under the auspices of Theatre Santa Fe, followed a March 29th Food for Thought dinner at La Fonda on the Plaza and a May 29th benefit, Ever the Twain, which took place at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Under the direction of Lois Rudnick and Jonathan Richards, this revival of a fantasia that enchanted attendees in January 2016 was enthusiastically applauded, and plans are now underway for additional presentations in other settings.

For more detail about the Guild's 2018-19 programming, click here. If you wish to join and receive periodic updates from The Shakespeare 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.