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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Announcing Flatwater Shakespeare's 2019 Season!

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged
by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield
Directed by Paul Durban
March 14-17 and March 21-24
Performed at The Mill at Nebraska Innovation Campus
2021 Transformation Drive #1350, Lincoln

William Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Directed by Patsy Koch-Johns
June 6-9 and June 13-16
Performed at the Swan Theatre, The Stables at Wyuka
3600 “O” Street, Lincoln
June 20-23
Touring Lincoln Parks and Other Outdoor Venues

William Shakespeare's Macbeth
Directed by Bob Hall
September 26-29, October 3-6, and October 10-13
Performed at the Swan Theatre, The Stables at Wyuka
3600 “O” Street, Lincoln

2019 Season Auditions will take place January 13 and 14
with Callbacks for specific shows announced later.

Visit us here, on Facebook,
for further announcements!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Flatwater Shakespeare Believes in "Will Power"!

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company will unveil its 2019 Season during “Will Power,” a gala event including Bard-inspired music, a review of Shakespearean scenes and speeches, and a silent auction. This special fundraiser raises the curtain at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 5, at The Stables at Wyuka, 3600 “O” Street in Lincoln.

Three productions will be staged by Flatwater Shakespeare in 2019. FSC Executive Director Summer Lukasiewicz will officially announce the play titles and show directors at the event.

Another highlight of the evening is “The Roles That Dreams Are Made On,” a script devised to allow several Lincoln area actors to visit their dream roles, regardless of age or gender, from Shakespeare. The list of characters includes Bottom and Puck from “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” Antony from “Julius Caesar,” Jaques from “As You Like It,” and Hamlet. Extended scenes will be shared from “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet.” The cast includes FSC Education Director Stephen Buhler, John Burney, Melissa Lewis, Matt Lukasiewicz, Summer Lukasiewicz, and Paul Shaw.

Music will be provided by Sweet Will and the Saucy Jacks (otherwise known as local band Tupelo Springfield). The group will play original pop music settings of Shakespearean sonnets, along with songs inspired by Shakespeare.

The silent auction features a wide range of intriguing items, including a Folio Society edition of Shakespeare's “Titus Andronicus,” donated by A Novel Idea Bookstore, gifts from the Lincoln's Children's Zoo and The Mill, original artwork, restaurant gift cards, and much, much more.

Throughout the evening, there will be appetizers, complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, and a cash bar. The event is sponsored by The Mill Coffee and Tea.

Tickets are $30 and are available online at www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org/tickets/.

Watch this preview for further details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TojHJdKM-Y

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Joe Papp and Shakespeare in the Park

The American tradition of Free Shakespeare in public parks has its strongest foundation in the efforts and achievements of one man, Joseph Papp, in New York City.

After running a Shakespearean Workshop on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Papp staged free productions of Julius Caesar and The Taming of the Shrew in a nearby park. From the local community, he attracted audience members who had never seen a play before. From the New York Times, his plays garnered positive reviews, which attracted more experienced and well-to-do theater goers. So began The New York Shakespeare Festival. As educator and critic Julius Novick has observed (and Novick was a volunteer apprentice for early productions): “It was a simple idea, once somebody had thought of it, but it was Joe Papp whose example was imitated in city parks all over America.”

The Festival soon moved to Central Park; Papp later won a hard-fought victory over Robert Moses, New York City’s parks commissioner, who unsuccessfully demanded charging admission; Moses then became a surprising ally, joining with donor George Delacorte in building a permanent home for Free Shakespeare. The Delacorte Theatre opened in June 1962 with The Merchant of Venice – and is open to this day.

The list of actors who have graced the Delacorte stage is an impressive one, including Lauren Ambrose, Annette Bening, Andre Braugher, Blythe Danner, Keith David, Rosario Dawson, Ruby Dee, Colleen Dewhurst, Olympia Dukakis, Morgan Freeman, Marcia Gay Harden, Mariette Hartley, Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Oscar Isaac, Chuk Iwuji, James Earl Jones, Raul Julia, Stacy Keach, Kevin Kline, John Lithgow, Audra McDonald, Janet McTeer, Al Pacino, Lily Rabe, Phylicia Rashad, Liev Schreiber, George C. Scott, Martin Sheen, Patrick Stewart, Corey Stoll, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, Denzel Washington, Sam Waterston, Kathleen Widdoes, and Diane Wiest.

Follow this link for audio and a transcript of an interview with Kenneth Turan about his oral history of the early years of the New York Shakespeare Festival, Free for All.  


You can follow this link to hear FSC Education Director Stephen Buhler connect Papp's innovations (including most of the backstory provided above) with developments in Nebraska. It's one of Steve's "Shakespeariences" for NET Radio, originally broadcast 2013-14.


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.