All posts by Hoosier Shakes

“The Plays Will Be Good.”

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Alan Rickman once shared a story about working on a production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. After a performance, Peter Brook asked the company how they felt things were coming along, so the actors started discussing the moments they didn’t quite feel they were hitting yet, the problem spots, and so forth. Brook listened and then said, “The thing is, you’ll never be as good as the play.”

 

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Candace during pre-show of The Cherry Orchard. Sweet Teas Shakespeare (Fayetteville, NC).

 

Because here’s the thing: Shakespeare’s plays are very good.

Understatement of the year, I know, but I don’t know what other words to use without sounding cliché. We’re all taught it in high school literature classes; we all know we’re at least supposed to agree that Shakespeare’s works are amazing.

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Candace Marie Joice Denver, CO

But really, they are.

If you allow yourself the pleasure of studying the complex, yet stunningly accessible stories, characters, and ideas he created – or better yet, if you allow yourself the pleasure of seeing those stories in action on stage in the hands of gifted performers – you can see how exceptional his plays are for yourself. The pleasure of being an actor is that you get to exist in both those worlds: studying first what he put to the page, and then exploring how to bring to life what you’ve studied for the delight of an audience. It’s a rewarding and challenging right of passage, each and every time.

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Candace in MacBeth

Indeed, Shakespeare’s works are, as Rickman also said, something actors test themselves against. He is the master of storytelling in every sense. In his 37 plays, he has crafted enough dazzling characters and thrilling plots to keep any actor sated for a lifetime of potential roles to explore. The economy and beauty of his words create boundless choices for the actor. The characters are honest and colorfully real. His work is accessible, funny, touching, smart, sexy.

And boy has Hoosier Shakes chosen two of Shakespeare’s most beloved and exciting plays for its inaugural season! I promise, the plays will be good. Very good. And we actors will strive to be at least almost as good as the Bard’s writing.

 – Candace Joice

Candace will portray Olivia in Twelfth Night and Cordelia, the Fool and the 3rd Servant in King Lear.

Twelfth Night and Pericles will be performed in repertory at Charley Creek Gardens in Wabash, IN, June 8-12 and the 3rd Street Courtyard in Marion, IN, June 15-19 and 22-26. Pre show entertainment will commence at 7:00 PM. shows will begin at 7:30 PM. Approximately run-time for each show is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

 

Performances are offered on a Pay-What-You-Will basis. If you like what you see, make a donation to Hoosier Shakes, Inc. during intermission or after the show. Donations may be made online through the Hoosier Shakes account on Paypal: Login to Paypal.com and send money to “info@hoosiershakes.com”.

Duana Menefee leaps at the chance to do Shakespeare!

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When an opportunity rolls around to do Shakespeare with some of your favorite people in one of your favorite places in the world, you just do it. More than that, you leap at the chance! Especially if you can be on the ground level of a new company!

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That’s how I felt when Fiebig asked me if I had 6 weeks free this summer. Shyeah, of course, I’ll always have time for Summer Shakespeare! It’s one of those right-of-passage, annual traditions that actors everywhere hold. And how cool is it that Hoosier Shakes is having its inaugural season this summer under the direction and movement of some of my dearest friends, mentors, and colleagues? 

It’s a no brainier. I fully expect and anticipate this summer’s events to be full of bright faces, long nights, hand-made theatre, and the finest Shakespeare to be seen in eastern Indiana! It’s a project and a dream that I’ve been looking forward to for months. I really can’t wait to see what Hoosier Shakes turns out to be and I can’t wait to get elbow deep in the work of The Bard and add to the mesh.

What an opportunity for everyone – students, teachers, actors, artists, audiences… Goodness. Exciting all around! Don’t miss it!

Duana will portray Maria in Twelfth Night and Edmund and the Knight in King Lear.

Twelfth Night and Pericles will be performed in repertory at Charley Creek Gardens in Wabash, IN, June 8-12 and the 3rd Street Courtyard in Marion, IN, June 15-19 and 22-26. Pre show entertainment will commence at 7:00 PM. shows will begin at 7:30 PM. Approximately run-time for each show is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

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Performances are offered on a Pay-What-You-Will basis. If you like what you see, make a donation to Hoosier Shakes, Inc. during intermission or after the show. Donations may be made online through the Hoosier Shakes account on Paypal: Login to Paypal.com and send money to “info@hoosiershakes.com”.

Christian Keffer on the transition from educational theatre to professional theatre

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Since sixth grade I’ve been a part of educational theatre at whatever school I attended. Each school year played out under the backdrop of whatever show we would put up; my academics didn’t take a back seat but, looking back, they weren’t the most important part of my year—that was always the Fall play or Spring musical. I’m in my Junior year at Indiana Wesleyan University and, still, all I’ve done is educational theatre. As I approach graduation, I approach a time where educational theatre may no longer be an option for me.

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[Enter HOOSIER SHAKES.] I wasn’t sure at first what the purpose of Hoosier Shakes was; I thought it was just a Shakespeare company hoping to bring the Bard’s works to mid-Indiana. Nevertheless, it caught my attention, and I began to look forward to the opportunity to do theatre outside the context of education. The Marion and Wabash areas deserve to experience Shakespeare in some way other than assigned reading by some evil high school English teacher (or SparkNotes), because they need to understand how timeless, impactful and entertaining Shakespeare’s stories are.

Then I discovered the second mission of Hoosier Shakes: to give students a taste of theatre outside the realm of school, and to cultivate networking between the professional and developing thespians involved—exactly what I needed, and exactly what I had been looking for. Students like me need a place to experience professional theatre and to understand what it is exactly they are working toward.

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As I prepare nervously for the auditions on Wednesday, I also approach them with a bit of peace of mind. Sure, there are a couple roles in Twelfth Night and King Lear that I’d love to have the opportunity to play. No matter how we are cast, though, students like me will begin to see what role we have in the world of theatre.

Don’t Miss Tim Sailer as Cassius in Julius Caesar!

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A few days ago, our tour caravan was traveling to Murray, Kentucky. I was reading Alexander Chee’s exquisite novelThe Queen of the Night. It tells the story of an orphan, Lilliet, who becomes an opera singer in 19th-century France. The following quote struck me:

You have truly grown into your artistry. You sing to give pleasure…but it is not with that craven approach that goes out begging for applause; instead, it is a gift given from your own store of pleasure, a pleasure taken from the music. This is the only honest way to give this, I think.

Like singing for Lilliet, the pleasure I get from acting, particularly Shakespeare, comes from the material itself. It’s not about the glory of being an actor (that’s in short supply). It’s the sounds, the words, the rhetoric. He is a master. It’s been such a gift to speak these words on stages across the country. This is where the pleasure lies.

Tim Sailer as Cassius in JULIUS CAESAR. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

Tim Sailer as Cassius in JULIUS CAESAR. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

My love for Shakespeare didn’t start with reading his plays. I read a lot of them in high school and college. But I was such a poser. I pretended to like Shakespeare because, as someone who loves reading, I thought I was supposed to.

Tim Sailer as Cassius in JULIUS CAESAR. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

Tim Sailer as Cassius in JULIUS CAESAR. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

Shakespeare clicked for me when I attended one of his plays for the first time: a Guthrie Theater touring production of Othello. Iago was absolutely captivating. Othello, menacing. Desdemona, heartbreaking. This 400-year-old play was sizzling with life and vigor. I didn’t understand everything that the actors said, but I knew they were in control. It was funny and disturbing. Ugh, what a rush!

Now, I recognize Shakespeare’s brilliance when I read his plays. But I believe the real magic comes from seeing his plays and speaking his words. Shakespeare explores the best and worst of humanity. He wrestles with the private and public; the head, the guts, and the heart. It’s a joy. And it’s a gift to offer this gift to you. It becomes a wonderful energy cycle. And that’s ultimately only possible with an audience.

So thank you.

Thank you for attending our performance of Julius Caesarin Marion.

Thank you for seeing and hearing live Shakespeare anywhere. 

Thank you for putting on your own productions of his plays.

Thank you for allowing these wonderful words to come to life. 

-Tim

Tim Sailer as Cassius in JULIUS CAESAR. Photo by Tommy Thompson.
Tim Sailer as Cassius in JULIUS CAESAR. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

Julius Caesar | On the road again

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From Zoe V. Speas, an actor with the American Shakespeare Center’s production of Julius Caesar showing this week at IWU…

We’re approaching the last few weeks of our Spring 2016 Dangerous Dreams Tour, and I can’t help but marvel at how our three shows and even the group itself has grown and developed along the way. It’s an unusual privilege for an actor to live in a set of roles for an entire year. Typically, you tackle a role in a contract for a few weeks of rehearsal and maybe a 4-8 week performance schedule to follow. I usually leave these kinds of contracts longing for another go at the characters I played, having thought of a new angle or layer that didn’t occur to me in rehearsal.

But when we embarked for our first leg of tour in fall 2015, I felt a different sense of unease about my time with these shows. I assumed that by the time we returned to Staunton, VA for Holiday Season, I would know everything there was to know about Katherine, Calphurnia, and Gwendolen Fairfax (to name a few of my characters). I fretted that my performances might grow stale or tired after so much repetition. Now, with only a few fistfuls of performances on the road remaining, I know that I was fretting for nothing. I can look at the upcoming Spring Season of these shows back home with eager anticipation. There’s always more to learn. Always. And what’s particularly exciting about working with this group of actors is that they understand the truth of that statement as well.

I love that there are problem moments for me in Calphurnia’s confrontation with her husband in Julius Caesar—things I haven’t figured out yet. There are nights when I leave stage filled with excitement (as I frantically change costumes at breakneck speeds to make my next entrance as Artemidorus) because I sensed that I hit on a new tenet of their relationship I never noticed before. And then there are nights that Calphurnia stomps out of her husband’s presence, as the blocking dictates, but with a little extra force because Zoe-the-Actor lost grip on her groundedness in the scene and couldn’t get it back.

So tonight, in Murray, Kentucky, I’ll have another shot at the scene for our performance of Caesar. And then another opportunity in the morning for a matinee. And when we arrive in Marion for a performance of Caesar, you better believe I’ll be chasing down the answers to even more questions that have popped up about Miss Cal since the last time I performed. This is what keeps our shows alive, and what, I believe, makes what we do especially exciting for each audience for which we have the pleasure of performing. You are witnessing a group of artists mid-search for truth in characters whose depths are unfathomable. Oh, and stunning costumes and sword fights and kick-butt music. That stuff’s pretty sweet as well.

Meet Zoe V. Speas from ASC

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We’re approaching the last few weeks of our Spring 2016 Dangerous Dreams Tour, and I can’t help but marvel at how our three shows and even the group itself has grown and developed along the way.

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It’s an unusual privilege for an actor to live in a set of roles for an entire year.. Typically, you tackle a role in a contract for a few weeks of rehearsal and maybe a 4-8 week performance schedule to follow. I usually leave these kinds of contracts longing for another go at the characters I played, having thought of a new angle or layer that didn’t occur to me in rehearsal.

But when we embarked for our first leg of tour in fall 2015, I felt a different sense of unease about my time with these shows. I assumed that by the time we returned to Staunton, VA for Holiday Season, I would know everything there was to know about Katherine, Calphurnia, and Gwendolen Fairfax (to name a few of my characters). I fretted that my performances might grow stale or tired after so much repetition. Now, with only a few fistfuls of performances on the road remaining, I know that I was fretting for nothing. I can look at the upcoming Spring Season of these shows back home with eager anticipation.

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There’s always more to learn. Always. And what’s particularly exciting about working with this group of actors is that they understand the truth of that statement as well. I love that there are problem moments for me in Calphurnia’s confrontation with her husband in Julius Caesar—things I haven’t figured out yet. There are nights when I leave stage filled with excitement (as I frantically change costumes at breakneck speeds to make my next entrance as Artemidorus) because I sensed that I hit on a new tenet of their relationship I never noticed before. And then there are nights that Calphurnia stomps out of her husband’s presence, as the blocking dictates, but with a little extra force because Zoe-the-Actor lost grip on her groundedness in the scene and couldn’t get it back.

So tonight, in Murray, Kentucky, I’ll have another shot at the scene for our performance of Caesar. And then another opportunity in the morning for a matinee. And when we arrive in Marion for a performance of Caesar, you better believe I’ll be chasing down the answers to even more questions that have popped up about Miss Cal since the last time I performed. This is what keeps our shows alive, and what, I believe, makes what we do especially exciting for each audience for which we have the pleasure of performing. You are witnessing a group of artists mid-search for truth in characters whose depths are unfathomable.

Oh, and stunning costumes and sword fights and kick-butt music. That stuff’s pretty sweet as well.

Zoe V. Speas

Auditions for Summer 2016 Inaugural Season

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Hoosier Shakes will be auditioning and casting 12 actors who will be cast in both shows Twelfth Night and King Lear.  Rehearsals will be from May 16-June 8.  Actors are expected to have memorized their lines before rehearsals begin.  Performances will be June 8-12, 15-19, and 22-26.  Auditions will be held on March 23 at 7:00 pm in Elder 146 (IWU campus).  Actors are asked to prepare two contrasting Shakespearean one-minute monologues.  Actors will be provided with housing and a minimal stipend.

King Lear

King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It depicts the gradual descent into madness of the title character, after he disposes of his kingdom giving bequests to two of his three daughters based on their flattery of him, bringing tragic consequences for all.

King Lear: King of Britain.  Aging father of three daughters. Proud and powerful. (Male, 40+, All Ethnicities)

Goneril: Lear’s eldest daughter. Ambitious, scheming, and aggressive. Initially willing to play the role of dutiful daughter, but only to gain control. Has no qualms about turning against anyone who is in the way of her ascent, including her father and her husband. (Female, 18+, All Ethnicities)

Regan: Lear’s second daughter. In contrast to Goneril, she appears to be more empathetic and available to her aging father despite an underlying self-interest, which she is more capable of hiding than her elder sister. She skates under the radar until the opportunity to seize power presents itself, and then she is more than able. (Female, 18+, All Ethnicities)

Cordelia: Lear’s youngest daughter. She has a great amount of strength, morality, and deep conviction. Although she loves her father, she values honesty and truth as well, and is willing to risk losing status and family to maintain her integrity. Steadfast in the face of treachery. (Female, 16+, All Ethnicities)

Edmund: Gloucester’s illegitimate son. Brash, cunning, and devious. Power-hungry and manipulative. He has managed to maintain a place in his father’s household and earn his trust. Keen to ruin his legitimate brother’s name and take his place as the family heir. (Male, 20+, All Ethnicities)

Various other roles some of which may be doubled:

•Duke of Albany – Goneril’s husband

•Duke of Cornwall – Regan’s husband

•Earl of Gloucester

•Earl of Kent – later disguised as Caius

•Edgar – Gloucester’s son

Edmund – Gloucester’s illegitimate son

•Oswald – Goneril’s steward

Fool – Lear’s fool

•King of France – suitor and later husband to Cordelia

•Duke of Burgundy – suitor to Cordelia

•Curan – courtier

•Old man – tenant of Gloucester

•Officer – employed by Edmund

•Gentleman – attends Cordelia

•Servants to Cornwall

•Knights of Lear’s Train

•Officers, Messengers, Soldiers, and Attendants.

Twelfth Night

T welfth Night, or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–02 as a Twelfth Night’s entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play centres on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who is disguised as a boy) falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with the Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man.

Viola: a young woman of aristocratic birth and the protagonist of the play; her ship gets wrecked in a storm and she is washed up on the shores of Illyria; disguises herself as a man; practical and resourceful. (Female, 16+, All Ethnicities)

Orsino: a powerful nobleman in the country of Illyria; he ends up falling in love with Lady Olivia, but begins to grow fond of Cesario. (Male, 16+, All Ethnicities)

Olivia: a beautiful and wealthy Illyrian lady, she is courted by Orsino as well as Sir Andrew Aguecheek; with both of them, she claims that she is mourning over the death of her brother, and that she is not seeking to marry someone for seven years. (Female, 16+, All Ethnicities)

Sebastian: the lost twin brother of Viola; he arrives in Ilyria whilst traveling with his close friend Antonio, and discovers that Lady Olivia wishes to marry him when the two have never met. (Male, 16+, All Ethnicities)

Malvolio: the head servant in the household of Lady Olivia; he is a very efficient, yet self-righteous, individual; his foul attitude causes him to form many enemies, who play an evil joke on him, making him believe that Olivia has fallen in love with him. (Male, 16+, All Ethnicities)

Toby Belch: an earthy, crude, and fat character who is the uncle of Olivia; he lives with her, but she does not approve of his rowdiness, heavy drinking, and late-night carousing. (Male, 16+, All Ethnicities)

Maria: Olivia’s gentlewoman; she is an unruly figure in the play, and helps to establish its festive and rebellious spirit. (Female, 16+, All Ethnicities)

Various other roles some of which may be doubled.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek – a rich man who Sir Toby brings to be Olivia’s wooer

Feste – the clown, or jester, of Olivia’s household

•Fabian – a servant and friend to Sir Toby

•Antonio – a captain and friend to Sebastian

•Valentine and Curio – gentlemen attending on the Duke

•A Servant of Olivia

•Captain of the Wrecked Ship – friend to Viola

Hoosier Shakes’ Bon Voyage

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This Summer, in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s Legacy, Hoosier Shakes will launch its inaugural season in Marion, Indiana. Hoosier Shakes is the result of a convergence of paths and ideas over the past few years. The first path began twelve years ago when I was introduced to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia, where they present Shakespeare’s plays in the most captivating and compelling way I’ve ever seen. Their influence on me as a theatre artist has been both broad and deep.

The second path was the trajectory I’ve been on since my career in Higher Education began in earnest 16 years ago. I’d been teaching theatre in Higher Education for more than a decade. As much as I enjoyed that work, I had a deep sense of frustration knowing that students from a university like Indiana Wesleyan University, where I currently teach, had little to no chance to break into show business without some sort of divine intervention.

My third path occurred while on sabbatical in NYC, I had the opportunity to direct and co-produce a production of Moliere’s Tartuffe for the Calvary Theatre Guild in midtown Manhattan. I met and worked with a group of professional actors that loved their craft and welcomed the idea of investing in students who reminded them of their former selves.

Melissa Harlow as Elmire, and David Shakopi as Orgon try to bait the impostor Tartuffe, portrayed byDoug Rossi.
Melissa Harlow as Elmire, and David Shakopi as Orgon try to bait the impostor Tartuffe, portrayed by Doug Rossi.

 

The convergence of these paths led me to intentionally constitute a theatre company designed to integrate professional and student actors for the purpose of not only entertaining, educating, and enlightening an audience, but for helping young would-be actors begin to make significant connections with older, more seasoned professionals, thus helping to generate some networking that would otherwise take years to achieve.

I hope you will support Hoosier Shakes with your patronage. We look forward to seeing you on our stage or in our audiences this summer during our repertory productions of “Twelfth Night” and “King Lear.”

Best!

Greg Fiebig, executive director & board president

Hoosier Shakes

Hoosier Shakes Executive Director Greg FIebig
Hoosier Shakes Executive Director Greg Fiebig