Hoosier Shakes is dead.
It’s dead because it has yet to incarnate even a single word of Shakespeare’s plays.
It’s dead because the playwright who lends his name to the company is dead. This April 23rd, we’ll even celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. He’s been very dead, a very long time.
We can’t even hope for him to emerge from his grave, if that sort of thing happens, because we found out recently that his head is missing.
Both plays Hoosier Shakespeare plans to perform this summer are soaked in death. In Twelfth Night, the story begins with word of four deaths — Olivia’s brother and father die before the play begins and in the second scene, we learn that Viola and Sebastian, twins separated in a shipwreck, believe each other dead. In Pericles, the title character thwarts an assassination attempt and then later, after his marriage and the birth of his child, he, too, is separated from his family, believing his wife, Thaisa, and daughter, Marina, to be dead at sea.
Pericles was co-written with Shakespeare by George Wilkins. He’s also dead. So are all the actors who first brought Pericles to life.
Hoosier Shakes is a theatre company built in the middle of a city and state and country that, in the “new” economy and since the Great Recession, have suffered more than its fair share of the death of jobs, extra income, and cultural life.
But in just a few short weeks, Hoosier Shakes, its artists, and audiences will get to take a big, new, fresh breath of life. We’ll give voice, for the first time and in Hoosier Shakes’ unique way, to these words again. The plays will come to life in read-throughs and actor bookwork and in our first on-our-feet rehearsals, in music and dance rehearsals, and on opening night. Life will come from the grass underneath our feet and the laughter in the throats of the audience and in the imaginations of everyone who shares a performance with us.
That’s how theatre works. Dead things come to life.
We create. We resurrect — we take dead stuff and breathe life into them.
In Twelfth Night, will we see the resurrection of Viola and Sebastian? Will we see Malvolio emerge from the tomb of his dark house? Or Toby emerge with new life from his drowning in sack? In Pericles, will we see the resurrection of Thaisa, Marina, and Pericles himself?
Will our actors find life in and through these freshly spoken words? Will our audiences find new or renewed interest in the old, dead poets they haven’t encountered since high school English or college drama class? Will Shakespeare awaken the cozy streets of Marion and the downy meadows of Wabash?
Sounds ambitious. But resurrections and other things that breathe life into places and people are nothing if not ambitious.
Hoosier Shakes is dead. Long live Hoosier Shakes.
Jeremy Fiebig is directing Hoosier Shakes’ production of Pericles, running in June 2016. He is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina and founder and Artistic Director/Master of Play at Sweet Tea Shakespeare. He is a proud husband to Nan and dad to Elliott and Owen.
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 “email@example.com”.