Flatwater Shakespeare's Blog News

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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Saturday, August 04, 2018

4 out of 20 Top Productions!

The Lincoln Journal Star recently selected 20 top productions from the last two decades of theater in the area. Four Flatwater Shakespeare shows are listed!  Here's some of what reviewer Larry L. Kubert had to say about them -- 

Taming of the Shrew
Directed by Bob Hall, 2008
Shakespeare meets Sergio Leone meets situation comedy, with a little bit of The Cisco Kid thrown in. Excellent performances were delivered by two of Lincoln’s leading actors, Melissa Lewis and the late George Hansen. The fire and fury that the pair brought was outstanding.

Julius Caesar
Directed by Bob Hall, 2009
The corrosive moral destructive power of ambition, envy, and corruption, set in a political arena, was the thrust of this production, [which explored] the motivations behind, and repercussions of, the assassination of the arrogant Caesar. The tempo of the drama played out with patience and perspective, ultimately allowing for appropriate climactic peaks of intensity. Brad Boesen's portrayal of Brutus was one couched in intense character concentration.

Directed by Bob Hall, 2015
In the most impressive portrayal of Hamlet that I have ever seen, Matt Lukasiewicz made a choice in the development of his character to shy away from the brooding depression often associated with the role and instead attacked the part with a ferocious emotional intensity that was staggering. That intensity fluctuated between anger and rage at his father’s murder and his mock psychosis façade, with the power in both [proving] forceful and penetrating in their effectiveness. Excellent stuff.

The Merchant of Venice
Directed by Tom Crew, 2016
Religious prejudice and bigotry can become prime subjects for dramatic scrutiny. Such subjects allow an opportunity for self-reflection and examination of attitudes and actions taken under the guise of a specific faith or creed. Merchant [offers] comedy and romance amid multiple story lines, but religious bias is the catalyst that drives the play and [ensures] discomfort for contemporary audiences. Dramatic tutorials were delivered by Richard Nielsen as Antonio and Patrick Lambrecht as Shylock.

Photo: Matt Lukasiewicz as Hamlet. Photo Credit: John Nollendorfs. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Flatwater FREE Shakespeare Frequently Asked Questions!

What Is Your Inclement Weather Policy?
It is our desire to complete every performance of The Tempest, and we will make every effort to start, continue, and finish each show despite light rainfall or breezy conditions.

In the event of heavy rains or winds, however, we may delay the start of the show – or the completion of the show – in the hope that the weather will clear. Announcements will be made informing audience members of such "holds." We may also pause to take precautions to ensure the safety and health of the performers and crew.

If the forecast is for steady rain or if conditions at a park are too wet from previous rainfall, we will move the production indoors at a nearby facility. Flatwater Shakespeare staff will provide directions to the new venue.

If severe storms are likely or imminent, shows may be canceled beforehand. To find out if a show will be moved indoors or is canceled prior to showtime, please check our Facebook page. You can also call our Information Line at 402-319-2895.

Do I Need a Reservation?

No reservations are needed. However, audience members are strongly encouraged to arrive 30 minutes before the performance time in order to have good seats or places. This is particularly true if you plan on using a blanket at one of the park locations, as space is limited.

Is There a Cost to Attend?

No! Flatwater Shakespeare Company offers the summer touring production FREE of charge, thanks to the generous support of the Cooper Foundation. Donations will be happily accepted, but everyone is welcome regardless of whether or not you can make a contribution.

When Do Shows Start and How Long Do They Run?

Performances begin at 7:00 p.m. and run 75 minutes. There is no intermission.

Is the Show Family Friendly?

The Tempest is a magical experience for all ages -- it blends together wizardry, music, romance, suspense, and comedy. Our Shorter Shakespeare format allows younger audience members (and maybe some uncertain elders) to enjoy a complete play in a manageable time. The informal park setting is perfect for families to have a taste of the Bard's wonderful characters, exciting action, and brilliant language. Previous tour audiences have included everyone from babies to people in their 80s, people of highly diverse backgrounds, people with physical disabilities, and even some pets. 

You Mean Pets Are Allowed?

Furry family members are welcome to attend a performance with you! We request that dogs be kept on a leash. Pet owners must clean up after their dogs.

Are the Locations Accessible?

All parks should be accessible for most mobility considerations; however, there may be uneven ground in some areas and limited parking options.

If you have a specific need, please contact Flatwater Shakespeare Company at 402-319-2895. We will do our best to accommodate you.

Are Restroom Facilities Available?

Yes! All locations have either restrooms or port-a-potties.

Do I Need to Bring My Own Chair or Blanket?

Audience members are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets. A limited number of folding chairs will be available at park locations.

May I Bring Food and Beverages? Will Concessions Be Available?

Audience members are welcome to bring in snacks, even a picnic supper, for you and your family. We ask that trash items are disposed of after the show so that we leave the performance locations in good condition.

Please note that alcoholic beverages cannot be brought to any of the parks.

Flatwater Shakespeare will have bottled water available for a $1 donation. FREE ICE CREAM will be available before each show! Ivanna Cone is again creating a new ice cream flavor exclusively for our tour.

Photo: Anna Hahn as Ariel in Flatwater Shakespeare's The Tempest, directed by Ryan Kathman.

Photo Credit: Michael Reinmiller. 

Thursday, June 07, 2018

2018 Inclement Weather Policy at The Swan

It is our desire to complete every performance of The Tempest, and we will make every effort to start, continue, and finish each show despite light rainfall or breezy conditions.

For performances at The Swan Theatre, we also have the option of moving the show (and audience) into one of the community rooms of The Stables at Wyuka.

If severe storms are likely or imminent, however, shows may be cancelled beforehand. Unless bad weather is clearly inevitable earlier, our policy is to post cancellations around 5:30 p.m. To find out if a show is cancelled prior to showtime, please check our Facebook page or call our Information Line at 402-319-2895. A recorded message will advise you accordingly.

Tickets Available Online: http://www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org/tickets/

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Alec Guinness on Modern Dress Shakespeare

Alec Guinness articulated his very sensible approach for the first Stratford Festival Program, 1953. The photo shows him performing as the King of France, with Irene Worth as Helena. 

There is nothing new about presenting Shakespeare in modern dress. In fact the plays were always performed in contemporary costume until about one hundred and twenty years ago, when the actors Charles Kean and Macready startled theatrical London with their elaborate productions, the results of painstaking historical research.

Perhaps the ideal way of presenting the plays is to dress them in Elizabethan or early Jacobean costume, as Shakespeare did; but he was notoriously indifferent to historical accuracy and was quite content to make ancient Romans refer to clocks and rapiers, buttons on their togas and a dozen other anachronisms. On the other hand, the English historical plays cover a comparatively short span of years and are not too far removed from Tudor times for Shakespeare's carelessness to be noticeable, and I think it right that productions of these should at least suggest their own periods. When it comes, however, to some of the plays of no particular period, I believe that modern dress will often pay rich dividends in presentation. In a difficult play like All's Well That Ends Well many points can be elucidated by dress. If an actor appears in a dressing gown audiences will be immediately aware that he has come from his bed; if he is in evening dress they will know he is at a social function; if in military uniform, that he is a soldier; if he is extravagantly overdressed they will come to conclusions about his character, and if, for instance, the heroine appears in academic robes, they will credit her with scholarship, and so on. Our lack of knowledge of ancient costumes would let these often important points of character and situation pass unnoticed.

If people object to archaic language (sometimes quite as startlingly alive and modern as the latest phrases from New York) being spoken by people in contemporary clothes, I would suggest that it is really no more odd than Elizabethans speaking in iambic pentametres, which of course they never did. Modern dress will often breathe fresh air on an old play and give it a fair chance of revaluation, firmly pointing out how little the human heart changes through the centuries, and how remarkably alike we are to our forebears. We hope that this may be the case with a moving and strange play as All's Well, which is so seldom performed.

The actor's style of playing naturally changes with his clothes. An over life-size flamboyance and largeness of gesture which may fit happily with tights, velvet, long sleeves and fur trimmings are obviously unsuitable with a tuxedo. The actor has to think in terms of realism - or at any rate with real emotion - without forgetting that the play is written in lyrical verse and formal prose. This, at its best, will mean that he cannot resort to "staginess" or vocal tricks, but must treat his part carefully and seriously as if it was written by Shaw, Maugham, Eliot, or Fry, and I think few would deny that Shakespeare is worthy of such treatment, or that it is an excellent approach to strive for.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

*The Tempest* June 7 Through June 24 -- at The Swan and On Tour!

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company's The Tempest, directed by Ryan Kathman, offers an enchanting experience for the entire family. The production opens at the Swan Theatre at Wyuka Stables for two weekends, June 7-10 and 14-17. The show then tours across Lincoln with a weekend of free performances, June 21-24. Performances will start at 7 p.m. and conclude by 8:30 p.m.

Kathman and FSC Executive Director Summer Lukasiewicz have fashioned a brisk, thoroughly engaging version of William Shakespeare's timeless classic that blends comedy, drama, music, magic, and romance. The show will appeal to audiences of all ages.

After being stranded on an island for years, the powerful wizard Prospero – previously the Duke of Milan – finds an opportunity to reverse the wrongs visited upon him. With the help of the spirit Ariel, he conjures up a storm to shipwreck, but leave unharmed, the enemies who deposed him. Along with his mastery over the elements of wind, water, fire, and earth, Prospero is able secretly to direct a courtship between Miranda, his daughter, and Ferdinand, son of Alonso, King of Naples. Ariel interrupts two different assassination plots and confronts Prospero's enemies with their past crimes. Caliban, a native of the island, seeks freedom from being Prospero's servant and places his trust in two members of Alonso's court, the steward Stephania and the jester Trincula. Ariel also longs for an end to her service to Prospero. As all his grand designs are fulfilled, Prospero must decide between revenge and compassion.

Prospero is played by Richard Nielsen, in his 26th production with Flatwater Shakespeare. Anna Hahn and Joe Hansen are the island's main inhabitants, Ariel and Caliban. Kacey Rose and Justin Minchow appear as the new couple Miranda and Ferdinand, while Mary Chambers and Samantha Hannigan play the Shakespearean clowns Stephania and Trincula. Other performers include Katie Hoppe and James Allen as the villainously witty Antonia and Sebastian, Jeremy Blomstedt as the penitent Alonso, and Chet Kincaid as the kind courtier Gonzala. Cat Pestinger provides musical commentary as the show's Troubadour, performing original songs and familiar favorites. The entire cast brings the island's elemental spirits to life.

Production design is by the director, Ryan Kathman. Costumes are by Kat Cover, with set construction and scenic painting by Jerry Peterson, Matthew Lukasiewicz, Marie Kisling, and Anthony Slattery. Sound design and musical arrangements are by Mary Chambers, Cat Pestinger, and Ryan Kathman. Stephen Buhler is the dramaturg. Michelle Zinke is the stage and tour manager, with Katie Hoppe the assistant stage and tour manager. Linda Zinke is the box office manager.

As in previous years, Ivanna Cone will create a new ice cream flavor, which will be served free of charge during the final weekend's tour of Lincoln parks. The 2018 Flatwater FREE Shakespeare tour has been made possible by a grant from the Cooper Foundation.
Shakespeare is for everyone! For tickets at the Swan Theatre and for more information about Flatwater Shakespeare, visit www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org.

LIST OF LOCATIONS (all performances start at 7 p.m.):

Thursday–Sunday,June 7–12, Swan Theatre at Wyuka Stables, 3600 O Street
($20 adult, $18 senior, $15 student)

Thursday–Sunday,June 14-19, Swan Theatre at Wyuka Stables, 3600 O Street
($20 adult, $18 senior, $15 student)

Thursday, June 21 Belmont Park, N. 12th and Judson (Free)

Friday, June 22 Cooper Park, S. 6th and D (Free)

Saturday, June 23 Trago Park, N. 22nd and U (Free)

Sunday, June 24 Havelock Park, N. 63rd and Ballard (Free)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Give to Lincoln Day 2018!

Magical experiences are in the works with Flatwater Shakespeare this summer: performances of The Tempest, our K-6 Little But Fierce program, our Grades 7-12 Sonnets and Songs program. 

Please support our productions and educational initiatives through Give to Lincoln Day 2018 -- you can donate now online!


Tuesday, May 01, 2018

FSC Education Programs Coming This Summer!

Registration is open now for both Little But Fierce, our sonnet-based Grades K-6 program, and Sonnets and Songs for Grades 7-12.  Participation is free of charge and on a first-come, first-served basis. Follow the link to sign up soon!