Flatwater Shakespeare's Blog News

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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Thursday, February 15, 2018

New FSC Executive Director Summer Lukasiewicz!

We are pleased to announce that Summer Lukasiewicz is the Flatwater Shakespeare Company's new Executive Director.

Ms. Lukasiewicz is an accomplished producer, director, playwright, actor, and educator. She has worked extensively with young people, directing shows at the Lincoln Community Playhouse and Blue Hill Community Schools. Her most notable productions for Blue Hill include Macbeth in 2014 and The Laramie Project in 2016. Past projects also include writing, directing, and producing original works, such as 872 Days and Voices from Chernobyl, and contributing to the curriculum for Flatwater Shakespeare's sonnet-based educational outreach program, Little But Fierce. Last year, she was recognized with the Dale E. Black Outstanding Young Teacher of Speech and Theatre Award.

Summer is a long-time artistic associate with Flatwater Shakespeare, having appeared as Olivia in Twelfth Night for the company's second Free Shakespeare tour, as Harper in Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Parts One and Two, and most recently as Valerie in Conor McPherson's The Weir. For Shakespeare on the Square in Aurora, Nebraska, she has played Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Prospera in The Tempest. For Polarity Ensemble Theatre in Chicago, she was Horatio in Hamlet.

“I joined the Flatwater family in 2006 in the cast of Macbeth,” says Lukasiewicz, “and have had the joy of playing a number of roles over the decade-plus since. I'm very excited to take on the role of Executive Director and help grow our impact as we work to make sure Shakespeare is for Everyone.”

Larry Weixelman, Board Chair, shares the FSC Board of Directors' confidence in “Summer’s talent, energy, and passion for theater and education.” Weixelman adds that “Her remarkable blend of skills and organizational expertise will assure an exceptional future for the company through continued artistic achievement and meaningful community outreach.” The Board will work with Ms. Lukasiewicz in finalizing plans for the company's 2018-19 season, which will include another Flatwater Free Shakespeare tour and performances at the Swan Theatre.

Flatwater Shakespeare's mission is to entertain and educate audiences in Lincoln and surrounding communities through Shakespeare and other high quality theater productions. The company is especially committed to connecting youth, non-traditional audiences, and under-represented groups with the dramatic arts. Accessible and exciting productions of Shakespeare's plays and other classic or language-driven works can broaden the base for all theater audiences, enhance appreciation for the arts more widely, and facilitate meaningful dialogue across many social divides.

Photo Credit: Dani Schwinn

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Changes in 2018!

Flatwater Shakespeare Company is in the process of hiring a successor to Becky Boesen, who resigned as Executive Artistic Director effective December 8, 2017. The organization is grateful for the energy, innovation and artistic quality that Boesen contributed to Flatwater Shakespeare during her tenure.
Her achievements included expansion of the 2017 summer tour of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, which was named an official event of the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Celebration, and included stops at Pioneers Park's one-room schoolhouse and the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice.
Boesen was also the primary architect and instructor for Flatwater's outreach programs for youth, "Little But Fierce" and "Sonnet Intensive." She directed a compelling production of Conor McPherson's The Weir, staged in the Swan Theater at Wyuka Stables. One of the initiatives she inaugurated will continue through The Lincoln Shadow History Project, which completes Flatwater's 2017-18 season and draws upon community stories that were shared after performances of The Weir. Also, in spring 2018, Boesen will include Flatwater Shakespeare's "Little But Fierce" in the Lincoln Arts Council's "Art Makes Me SmArt" program.

FSC's Board of Directors is currently reviewing applications for a new Executive Director and will make an announcement soon.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

"Searingly captivating" -- *The Weir*

Flatwater Shakespeare's The Weir
Lincoln Journal Star review 9/28/2017

The setting is a tiny rural Irish bar. Not only can one hear the bellowing and bawling of the wind pelting the structure, but it’s almost like the gusts whistle through its walls and into the hearts of the establishment’s patrons.
The Weir,” currently on The Swan Theatre stage and performed by the Flatwater Shakespeare Company, is not a festive production. But neither is it depressing. Sobering with hints of uneasy comedic relief seems most appropriate.
The short, 90-minute presentation – performed without an intermission – is a journey into insecurity, isolation and solitude. It probes the seclusion of individuals as the world withdraws from them and at the same time as they retreat into a selfness of protection for comfort. Thankfully towards its conclusion, there's a glimmering of resurrection of confidence and expectation.
The play covers an evening of drink and stories as Jack (Brad Boesen), a garage owner; Jim (Christian Novotny), Jack’s handyman; Finbar (John Burney), a well-off property owner; and Brendan (Paul Shaw), the bar’s owner; swap tales and alternately attempt to entertain or impress Valerie (Summer Lukasiewicz), the village’s newest resident.
Each of the men has specters haunting his self-confidence and attempt to find escape. Valerie initially seems removed from such self-doubt, but eventually exposes her vulnerabilities.
Jack and Finbar banter among themselves, ebbing toward and flowing from confrontation, while Brendan – smitten with Valerie – shyly edges toward a protector role for her. Jim is removed, yet in many ways is the most assured – perhaps not recognizing his plight.

Eventually the night turns to ghost stories – a most manly way to impress an innocent young woman. But what the stories actually accomplish is the dropping of the curtain, protecting the façade of each character. And with that banishing comes trust and confidence.
The play’s cast is strong and consistent, with Shaw, Burney and Novotny delivering nicely crafted and measured performances.
But it is the monologues delivered by Boesen and Lukasiewicz toward the end of the production that are searingly captivating. Gently and quietly presented, their elocution bares their secrets, yet that revealing is what makes for the possibility of optimism.
The Weir” is a very good production. And the fact that the play’s tales of fairies and ghosts are dispensed in a cemetery should not be ignored.

The show continues tonight and tomorrow night, 7 p.m. continuing Thursday through Sunday next weekend. For tickets and additional information, visit www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tickets on Sale Now for "The Weir" September 28 to October 8!

This fall, the Flatwater Shakespeare Company digs deep into mystery with a two-week run of The Weir. Performances are Thursdays through Sundays, September 28 to October 1, and October 4-8, with all shows beginning 7 p.m. in the open-air theater of The Stables at Wyuka, 3600 “O” Street in Lincoln.

The power of stories to build community meets the great Irish tradition of the bar-room tale in The Weir, Conor McPherson’s brilliant play about loss, the paranormal, and the consolations of connection. In the setting of a small rural pub in the northwest of Ireland, the regulars and their host fall into swapping ghost stories, the sort of local legends and anecdotes that over the years get stretched in the telling. But this evening is different from an average night at the pub, because a new visitor has arrived, with a story of her own, and it may just change everything. Performances run 90 minutes, with no intermission, and include strong language and adult themes. The show is recommended for mature audiences only.

Directed by Executive Artistic Director Becky Boesen, the production features a sterling cast including past Flatwater Shakespeare associates Brad Boesen as Jack, Summer Lukasiewicz as Valerie, and Christian Novotny as Jim. Joining the ensemble are John Burney as Finbar and Paul Shaw as Brendan. Scenic, lighting, and sound designs are by technical director Patrick Lambrecht. Kat Cover is the costume designer. The dialect coach is Sasha Dobson and the dramaturg is Timothy Scholl. Michelle Zinke is the stage manager.

Ticket prices are Students $15, Seniors $18, and General $20. A limited number of VIP Club Table packages include seating for two, a bottle of red or white wine, and two t-shirts for $100 total. Concessions, including coffee from The Mill, will be available. Other beverages will be sold at the on-set pub, prior to each performance. Advance tickets may be purchased online via www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org.

Before, during, and after the run, Flatwater Shakespeare will collect local ghost stories and legends. Audience members for The Weir are invited to stay after performances to share their own uncanny tales. The company is also interested in stories from up to 150 years ago in honor of the Nebraska Sesquicentennial. Selected tales will be developed into an original multi-media performance piece, The Lincoln Shadow History Project, developed by Timothy Scholl along with local playwright Brian Bornstein and filmmaker and storyteller Colleen Kenney Fleischer. The piece will premiere in Spring 2018, directed by Scholl. “Thinking back on our 150-year anniversary, we want to explore the ways in which ‘shadow histories’ have shaped our experience as Nebraskans,” says Scholl. “There is a great deal of mystery in the unexplained. We want to use that as a catalyst for performance.”

For further information, please visit www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Announcing the Cast for FSC's *The Weir*

The Weir by Conor McPherson

Brad Boesen as Jack
John Burney as Finbar
Summer Lukasiewicz as Valerie
Christian Novotny as Jim
Paul Shaw as Brendan

The production is directed by Becky Boesen, Flatwater Shakespeare's Executive Artistic Director.

Performances will be at Wyuka Stables, 3600 "O" Street in Lincoln, Thursday through Sunday, September 28-30 and October 1, and Thursday through Sunday, October 5-8.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Auditions for *The Weir*!

Auditions for our fall production of The Weir by Conor McPherson will be held on Monday, July 24th from 7 pm to 10 pm. There are three roles available for actors who can play ages 25 - 65. Those who are cast will be contracted and compensated for their time and talents.

About The Weir: In a bar in rural Ireland, the local men swap spooky stories in an attempt to impress a young woman from Dublin who recently moved into a nearby "haunted" house. However, the tables are soon turned when she spins a yarn of her own.

To audition for The Weir, please prepare a ghost story, not to exceed 2 minutes in length. An Irish dialect is preferred and will be required for the production.

Auditions are by appointment only, and can be scheduled by emailing Stage Manager Michelle Zinke at mkzinke@aol.com.

FSC celebrates diversity in casting and welcomes all who wish to audition.

FSC's entire production season is an official program of the Nebraska Sesquicentennial, and local ghost stories will be collected from community members during The Weir for an original project to be named at a later date.

Please see the above graphic for additional information.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Our Actors Look Back at *The Merry Wives of Windsor*

Some reflections on FSC's The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Becky Boesen:

Reed Westerhoff:
There is a special kind of feeling when an actor closes a show. Weeks, Months, Years, or however long, it all gets put to rest after so much time and work, with only a memory to fill the void of what, for a period of time, was your whole life.
Last night, an incredible, welcoming and talented cast closed Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Nearly 3 months from Audition to close and I only wish we had more time together. I've never worked with a company so full of brilliant people that I can sincerely count among my friends. I can only hope to work with all of you again.
May your cudgels be high, your wives merry, and may you all wash yourselves of the buck. Until next time.

Breeana Francesca Carodine:

An incredible end to an incredible run.
I am so grateful to have been a part of this production. I honestly could not have asked for a better (or more challenging) way to be reintroduced to my first love. I was able to spend time with old friends and make new ones. This team of people truly were an incredible support system and helped me so much the last couple of months. You're all such an inspiration and I couldn't be more thankful to know you all.
I won't take such a long break from theatre this time. I don't ever want to enter a new experience feeling so out of practice ever again. So stay tuned everyone.

Katie Hoppe:

I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer. Being surrounded by such positivity, support, and pure energy every day was an incredible experience. I'm endlessly thankful that the universe brought me together and gave me the chance to work all the incredible people in this cast. You best believe I will support the HELL out of you guys in whatever new adventure comes your way!
Special shoutout to Michelle Zinke and Petra Wahlqvist for being ridiculously awesome stage managers and all-around beautiful people. Working with you both was a gift. And, of course, none of this would have been possible without our fearless director, Becky Boesen. You continually push me to be a better actor and person and I don't have the words to express my gratefulness at the opportunities you have given me. You're an inspiration to me and countless others. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

Ian McKercher

I am incredibly proud of how our final show turned out tonight at the Railyard for The Merry Wives of Windsor. I felt like it was our best audience and that's because we as a cast brought our best energy to the show tonight. Everyone was laughing at every line. What an amazing night to end on! Thank you so much cast and crew for an awesome conclusion to this process. I got to work with some old faces and make some amazing new friends as well, whom I look forward to seeing in the future. We formed a true family through this production. You are all such hard workers and amazing actors! I will work with every single one of you again in a heartbeat. This tour was a blast!

Allison Baird

I've been doing this theatre thing as long as I can remember. Before I graced the stage myself, I remember watching in the crowd with big eyes wishing that I could do what they did.

Now, I get to struggle through and enjoy this beautiful mess we call art. (And I can't imagine myself doing anything else.) But, tonight in our final performance of one of the hardest yet most rewarding shows yet, I'm reminded of why I do it. So that this little girl knows that she can. And so that I am reminded that I can. Iris, your shirt is so right. Girls totally rule.