Explore the Actors' Renaissance Season - About the Actors' Renaissance Season
A Letter from Artistic Director Jim Warren
From January 13 to April 2, we welcome you to join us as we delve deeper into Shakespeare’s Staging Conditions by modeling our rehearsal process aft er that of early modern theatre companies.
The American Shakespeare Center is in its third decade of going “back to the future.” We’ve shown that Shakespeare and his contemporaries knew what they were doing 400 years ago, and we’ve learned from them how to create fresh, engaging theatre for 21st-century audiences.
Veteran ASC actors mount these shows in just a matt er of days, gathering costumes and props from our stock and sometimes using cue scripts that contain only their own lines and their cues. But the Actors’ Renaissance Season is not some academic experiment in antiquated theatre — it’s intelligent, passionate, and exceptional theatre.
And all of the hallmarks of ASC productions are still here: lights up on the stage and the audience, a troupe of a dozen or so actors performing all the roles, minimal sets, acoustic music before and during the show, cross-gender casting, and brisk pacing. The focus is still on luminous language delivered by charismatic actors who turn the Blackfriars Playhouse into an intimate community participating in and becoming part of the world of the play together.
In the spirit of continuing experimentation, we’ve got two new wrinkles this Ren Season:
1. a new play: we want to encourage today’s playwrights to craft new works for Shakespeare’s staging conditions, and this season we’ll be delivering the world premiere of Shakespeare’s Sister aft er rehearsing it with me and playwright Emma Whipday
2. the Peter Quince Principle: we’re putt ing long-time ASC actor René Thornton, Jr. in charge of The Fair Maid of the Exchange the way Peter Quince is in charge of Pyramus and Thisbe inside of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
By daring to throw away a few more of our 21st-century theatrical norms, we hope to create an even more intense bond between performer and audience and an even greater level of fun and excitement for an audience experiencing the raw energy of the Renaissance stage.
ASC CO-FOUNDER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR