Flatwater Shakespeare's Blog News

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.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Last Weekend for *Merry Wives of Windsor*!

There are two chances left to see The Merry Wives of Windsor!

Saturday, July 1st - 7 PM - Homestead National Monument of America -
8523 West State Highway 4, Beatrice, NE
Sunday, July 2nd - 7PM - The Railyard - Canopy Street in Lincoln's Haymarket

This weekend wraps up our 2017 summer tour! Will Shallow ever let Falstaff off the hook over the whole "ill-killed" venison thing? Who's really hiding in Dr. Caius' closet? Will Frances Ford ever truly "wash" himself "of the buck?" Join us and find out for yourself! We'll see you there!

Make sure to come early to enjoy music from the amazing Orion Walsh!

Can we have a big cyber round of applause for Ameritas, Union Bank & Trust, and Nelnet for supporting this tour? Shakespeare is for everyone, and these Silver Season sponsors are helping FSC to make it so!

Did you know that homesteader children often learned and recited Shakespeare as part of their daily lessons? Here's a photo from McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader. We found this on the shelves at the gift shop at Homestead National Monument of America! Children reciting from Henry V? We love it! It gets us excited for our upcoming education and outreach initiative, which introduces Shakespeare's poetry to children as young as 5 years old! Stay tuned for more about that, coming soon.Find our more at www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org.

Photo Credits: John Nollendorfs and Becky Boesen. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions about Our 2017 *Merry Wives* Tour

Flatwater FREE Shakespeare

Summer Tour 2017–The Merry Wives of Windsor

Got questions? We have answers.

What Is Your Inclement Weather Policy?

It is our desire to complete every performance, 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 "holds." We may also pause to take precautions to ensure the safety and health of the performers and crew.

If severe storms are likely or imminent, shows may be canceled beforehand. To find out if a show is canceled prior to showtime, please check our Facebook page or call our Information Line at 402-601-8529. A recorded message will advise you accordingly.

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. This is also true if you want to enjoy Ozark Hutch and Orion Walsh in our musical pre-show!

Is There a Cost to Attend?

No! Flatwater Shakespeare Company offers the summer touring production FREE of charge. A $10 donation is suggested, but everyone is welcome regardless of whether or not you can make a contribution.

Good Will Donations in all amounts are greatly appreciated as we continue our tradition of producing Good Will Shakespeare productions.

When Do Shows Start and How Long Do They Run?

Performances begin at 7:00pm, including the Sunday performances. The one exception is Pioneers Park Nature Center show June 24th, at the restored schoolhouse, which starts at 2 pm. Performances run just under 2 1/2 hours, plus intermission.

Is the Show “Family Friendly?”

The Merry Wives of Windsor has some mild innuendo. The plot also centers on John Falstaff's scheme to seduce two married women. But Alice Ford and Meg Page, the Merry Wives of the title, are determined to teach Falstaff a lesson. Or two. Or three. The informal park setting is perfect for families to have a taste of the Bard’s wonderful characters, exciting action, and brilliant language. Previous audiences have included everyone from babies to people in their 80s, people of wide-ranging cultural and ethnic backgrounds, people with physical disabilities, and even some pets. 

You Mean Pets Are Allowed?

Except for the performances at the Lincoln Community Foundation Garden, Pioneers Park Nature Center, Homestead National Monument, and The Railyard, 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?

The performances held at the Lincoln Community Foundation Garden, Pioneers Park, the Homestead National Monument, and The Railyard are handicapped accessible. Park locations should be accessible for several 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 402-601-8529. We will do our best to accommodate you.

Are Restroom Facilities Available?

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

Do I Need to Bring My Own Chair or Blanket?

Chairs will be provided at the Lincoln Community Foundation Garden (June 30). Audience members are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets for the performances at all other locations.

May I Bring Food and Beverages?

For most shows, yes! Audience members are welcome to bring in snacks, even a picnic supper, for you and your family. The one exception is The Railyard, but several vendors there will be open for business. In all cases, 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 public locations. At the performance at James Arthur Vineyards on June 23, wine will be available for purchase, as well as soft drinks and water. Information about pre-ordering food baskets for the JAV performance will be posted at www.jamesarthurvineyards.com -- or you can call 402-783-5255.

Will Other Concessions Be Available?

Yes, depending on location. At the parks, Flatwater Shakespeare will have bottled water available for a $1 donation. At most locations, except for Homestead National Monument and The Railyard: FREE ICE CREAM during intermission! Ivanna Cone is again creating a new ice cream flavor exclusively for our summer touring production.

Photo: Ian McKercher as Simple and Juanita Pat Rice as Mistress Quickly in Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Becky Boesen. Photo Credit: jenny gegg photography