Ira Glass of This American Life ignited a firestorm recently by complaining that Shakespeare was not "relatable." There's been commendable pushback against this judgment, along with worthwhile discussion about why so many people, like Glass, feel as though Shakespeare keeps them at arm's length.
That's not the way we feel at Flatwater Shakespeare and we certainly don't want anyone involved with any of our productions and activities -- including audience members -- to feel that way, either.
We're fortunate, though, to be members of a community within larger communities: FSC is very much a part of Lincoln, Nebraska, and very much connected with other theater groups. What has drawn us into Shakespeare is, most often, a personal connection -- working together as a team, receiving the guidance and encouragement of a mentor or teacher or director. A sense of connection also comes from the elusive but persistent impression we receive in reading, watching, and acting in the plays that we are somehow getting to know their author and the personalities and communities that sustained his work.
Kevin Kline, appearing as Lear in the production that prompted Glass's outburst, pays tribute to the power of personal connection in this blog entry:
We are all invited to be part of "a long, unfolding history" of encounters with Shakespeare. The Flatwater Shakespeare Company is especially proud of the young people who answered that invitation during this summer's youth production of The Comedy of Errors and of their director, Paden Alexander -- himself a "graduate" of our educational programs and now a regular cast member in our mainstage shows.