Last week, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company said hello to their new home at the Otto M. Budig Theater with performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was fortunate enough to be invited to their Media Night on September 7, when I got a first look at the space and the show.
Located at 1195 Elm Street, the new theater features a modern style of architecture one might not expect for a company boasting Shakespeare’s name. There is a large lobby area for everyone to gather before the show and during intermission and it is peppered with Shakespeare quotes and play titles everywhere you turn, from the steps to the seating. I personally am a fan of the bathroom sinks which read, “A little water clears us of this deed” – a direct quote from Lady Macbeth. When you go to a performance, see how many you can find! Upstairs, an open room is used for classes and meetings for various presentations. During Media Night, Jeremy Dubin, Director of Creative Education, gave an informative presentation on the costuming and set design for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Continue reading →
Ah, summer. A time for frolicking on the beaches, zipping swiftly through busy cities with bright lights, tolerating that toddler kicking your seat on the plane just because it means you’re finally getting to spend some time away from work, and appreciating the Bard? It’s true. Shakespeare’s home, Stratford-upon-Avon, has been relying on tourism to bolster its economy since 1769.
Read Source, the online newsletter, to learn more about the news, events, people and happenings in UC Libraries.
This latest issue of Source includes an article with Xuemao Wang, dean and university librarian, about how UC Libraries is utilizing Organizational Development to help bring about transformational change. Kevin Grace, university archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library writes about the Enoch Carson Shakespeare Collection and how it will be a part of autumn 2017 Shakespeare celebrations in Cincinnati. Another great reading collection, the Cohen Enrichment Collection, is also featured in this issue.
In my previous blog I mentioned that the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company would be putting on free productions of Merry Wives of Windsor this summer as part of its Shakespeare in the Park series. If you’ve read the play or seen the show, you know a main plot point is about Sir John Falstaff and how he tries to seduce Mistress Page and her best friend, Mistress Ford—at the same time. Both women, faithful to their husbands, decide to create quite the fool out of Falstaff by feigning interest and arranging secret meetings between Falstaff and Mistress Ford. Those meetings are always interrupted by Master Ford coming home, thus putting Falstaff in precarious positions. One of the most notable scenes involves Falstaff donning a dress, pretending to be the fat aunt of the Fords’ servant so he can leave the house without being recognized. It’s been long thought of as one of the funniest scenes in the play…why? What is it about a man in a dress that gives us a big chuckle? Continue reading →
Congrats to all the Bearcats who graduated and to those who celebrated surviving another semester! Now that it’s summer time, you might be looking for some fun things to do. I can tell you about one that’s right in your backyard…well, park. Once again the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will offer their free Shakespeare in the Park summer series. It opens July 14th and runs through September 4th. Each year Cincinnati Shakes prepares two shows for their various performances at parks around the city and Hamilton County. This year’s shows are Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Past years included A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing. The official schedule hasn’t been posted yet, but it will be coming soon! You can check their website for updates. Continue reading →
In the spring of 1883, Cincinnati held its first Dramatic Festival at Music Hall, performing for a consecutive six days. The show had a lineup of performances of all sorts of dramatic works, with many of them holding Shakespearian titles. The festival was such a big deal that even the Chicago Tribune sent someone over to see what it was all about but unfortunately, the Tribune was less than impressed with Cincinnati’s efforts, claiming that the largeness of Music Hall drowned out the performances of almost all the actors. However, the critics did have some kind words for the orchestra as well as the performances of Hamlet and Julius Caesar. Apparently, these were the only two plays that were “great” enough to be worthy of performance while simultaneously using the space effectively. It certainly helped that in the role of Hamlet was the famous thespian James E. Murdoch.
Sydney Vollmer, Archives & Rare Books Library Intern
For those faithful followers who have not been keeping up with local theater, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s next production will be Richard III, running February 17th through March 11th. Their website (http://www.cincyshakes.com/) says of the show:
Shakespeare’s game of thrones enters its endgame as the history cycle’s final chapter takes the stage. The ruthless, remorseless and relentless Richard Plantagenet has his eyes set on the throne of England, and he makes the happy earth his hell as he carves a bloody swath through all that stands in his way. The History Cycle comes to its thrilling conclusion with the story of England’s most murderous monarch, Richard III. Paired with the production of Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 2, this theatrical event is not to be missed! Continue reading →
Since the beginning of theater, costumes have played a crucial role to the understanding and enjoyment of the stories. Over time, they have developed both in design and technique. It was the Greeks who first invented costumes, using them to differentiate between characters of different class. They were often ornate, with patterns and masks. Romans continued the tradition of costuming, but no major changes were made for hundreds of years. By the time Shakespeare came about, costuming had evolved so that actors would don whatever their character would wear in real life. Continue reading →
On August 17, 1866, Sarah Frances “Fanny” Frost was born in Caldbeck, England to John and Sarah Frost. As Julia Marlowe, she died at age 84 in New York City’s Plaza Hotel. Between those two events, she discovered passion, love (multiple times), and fame.
The future Shakespearean actress was born into a relatively normal family. She had four siblings, three sisters and a brother and her parents owned a general store while also working in the trades of needlework and boot making. Her father sometimes got drunk and her mother always got frustrated with him. At the age of 5, though, all of that “normalcy” changed for Marlowe. It was the year that her father whisked the family away to America. Plenty of people were immigrating to America during the 1870s, but Marlowe’s father did so to stay out of trouble. During an impromptu horse race between her father—where he was most likely drunk— and one of their neighbors, Mr. Frost allegedly took out his competitor’s eye with his whip. Knowing that he would surely face prosecution if he stayed, he immediately took his wife and children to America. Once arrived, they first settled in Kansas, but soon moved to Portsmouth, Ohio with the new surname “Brough,” which was the maiden name of Julia’s mother. Later on, the family would find out that the competitor had been playing a cruel joke and there had not been any reason to leave so urgently. Continue reading →
You know by now that 2016 the year of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and that the Archives & Rare Books Library is celebrating it in a big way by highlighting their Shakespeare holdings. BUT it’s also Women’s Week at the University of Cincinnati! Surprisingly, the two have something in common, but we’ll get to that. For the next few days, the topic of feminism will be spread across Main Street all the way from TUC to the Rec Center. Women’s Week is a nice enough concept. I believe in strong females, and I certainly consider myself worthy of any opportunity a man is given. There’s always that stigma about feminism though…a stigma that being feminist means triumphing over men. And that’s where my problem lies both with feminism and with Women’s Week because last night, I saw a picture of a girl on Main Street holding a chalkboard that referred to boys as stupid. My definition of feminism has a lot more to do with mutual respect and a celebration of differences rather than drawing a line between the two sexes and saying one is better than the other.