Flatwater Shakespeare's Blog News

My Photo
Name:
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Few Things about Shakespeare!

From our good friend Katie Sisneros:

Why is Shakespeare the most recognizable name in English literature? Why is he required reading for all high schools and most universities in the country? Why is he appropriated and adapted over and over and over in all different genres and all different media? We can’t know for sure. Some luck, quite a bit of British Colonialism, and a whole hell of a lot of talent.


Read the rest at The Tangential: let-me-just-say-a-few-things-about-shakespeare!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

'Sblood! Zounds! Oaths in *Othello*


In Shakespeare’s culture, one’s word – one’s truthfulness – was a sign of honor. In asserting the truthfulness of their statements, people in Early Modern times regularly swore oaths by (or to) sacred or spiritual persons, objects, and even ideas. This, by the way, is how such terms came to be known as “swear words.” At times, Shakespeare carefully matches specific oaths to characters and to the circumstances in which they are sworn.

Some oaths were shortened – both by constant use and also to soften their impact. It’s worth understanding their full significance:

‘Sblood = By Christ’s blood (shed for the salvation of humankind)

Zounds = By God’s wounds (suffered for the sins of humankind)

‘Fore God = In front of God’s face

Diablo = By the devil

By’r Lady = By Our Lady (the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus)

‘Ud’s pity = God’s pity (Divine Mercy being the only reason that anyone is saved)

Other examples include: O heaven; Vouch with me, heaven; By heaven; God’s will; O grace; Death and damnation; Faith; I’faith (in faith); Good faith; by this heavenly light

In some cases, more extensive oaths give further insight into character and connect powerfully with other statements and situations:

“Now, by yond marble heaven, / In the due reverence of a sacred vow . . . ” Othello, swearing vengeance, seeing heaven – and divine justice – as cold, hard, white.

“Witness, you ever-burning lights above, / You elements that clip us round about . . . ” Iago, swearing to assist Othello in punishing Cassio and Desdemona, describing the heavens as material, not spiritual.

“As I am a Christian”; “as I shall be saved” – Desdemona, swearing by her hopes for eternal life while insisting upon her innocence and her fidelity to Othello.

More briefly, Montano expresses his belief that a true soldier is a person of honor: “a little one; not past a pint, as I am a soldier” – swearing that he hasn’t given Cassio a great quantity of wine. This sets up his insistence that Iago report the night’s events accurately: “If . . . Thou dost deliver more or less than truth, / Thou art no soldier.” We’re given yet another poignant bit of dramatic irony, given Iago’s relationship with the truth.

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company proudly presents

Othello


directed by Bob Hall
scenic design by Robert Hillestad

October 6-9, 13-16, 20-23; Time: 7:30 p.m.
Lincoln Community Playhouse Family Theatre
2500 S. 56th Street, Lincoln
Tickets: 402-473-2897
$18 Adults; $15 Seniors; $10 Students

Photo: Amy Jirsa as Desdemona, Bill Bryant as Othello, and Brad Boesen as Iago in Flatwater Shakespeare's Othello. Photo Credit: John Nollendorfs

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Robert Hillestad Joins Flatwater Shakespeare's Creative Team for *Othello*


When Bob Hall, Flatwater Shakespeare’s Artistic Director, first began to envision his upcoming production of Othello, he thought not only about language, emotion, and action, but also about textures and colors. So he asked Lincoln artist Robert Hillestad, a master of textiles art in both fabrics and fibers, to design the set.

The result is a vibrant visual setting for William Shakespeare’s tragedy of love, jealousy, and prejudice. Hillestad’s colorful and tactile hangings will evoke the external settings of Venice and Cyprus and the interior worlds of desire and distrust. Mr. Hillestad worked with Dustin Witte in set construction and with costume designer Kat Cover in crafting a theatrical scene that, like Shakespeare’s work, is both timeless and rooted in the Renaissance. Also, an installation of Hillestad’s work called “Desdemona’s Dream” will be open for viewing in the Playhouse’s Gallery Theatre space during the run of the show.

Robert Hillestad has had a distinguished career as a textiles artist and design educator. He is Emeritus Professor of Clothing, Textiles, and Design at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His art work has been shown in more than 150 juried and invitational exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad and is represented in numerous private, corporate, and museum collections. Images of his art work are included in more than 50 publications in print and electronic form.

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company’s Othello runs Thursdays through Sundays, October 6-9, 13-16, and 20-23 in the Lincoln Community Playhouse Family Theatre, 2500 S. 56th Street. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Call 402-473-2897 for reservations.

Support for Flatwater Shakespeare’s presentation of Othello has been provided by the Cooper Foundation, the Lincoln Arts Council, the Nebraska Arts Council, and the Woods Charitable Trust. For more information, go to flatwatershakespeare.org.

Othello
Dates: October 6-9, 13-16, 20-23; Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Lincoln Community Playhouse
2500 S. 56th Street, Lincoln
Tickets: 402-473-2897
$18 Adults; $15 Seniors; $10 Students

Photo: Robert Hillestad, Scenic Designer for Flatwater Shakespeare's Othello.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Flatwater Shakespeare's *Othello* at LCP this October


William Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy of love, jealousy, and prejudice comes to Lincoln this fall as The Flatwater Shakespeare Company stages Othello in the Lincoln Community Playhouse Family Theatre, 2500 S. 56th Street. The show opens Thursday, October 6. Performances continue Friday-Sunday, October 7-9, and Thursday-Sunday, October 13-16 and 20-23. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Group rates are also available. Call 402-473-2897 for reservations.

The Republic of Venice, at war with the Ottoman Empire, depends on Othello, a charismatic general of African heritage. His brave exploits win the love of Desdemona, a young gentlewoman of Venice. Their secret marriage is revealed just as Othello is given orders to lead Venetian forces on the island of Cyprus. On the island, their happiness becomes the target of a diabolical plot devised by Iago, an embittered officer.

Director Bob Hall has assembled an extraordinary creative team to bring Shakespeare ’s rich and moving story to life. The scenic designer is Robert Hillestad, a master of textiles art in both fabrics and fibers. Hillestad and Flatwater Shakespeare’s Dustin Witte will work with costume designer Kat Cover in crafting a vibrant visual setting for many of Lincoln’s finest actors.

Bill Bryant and Amy Jirsa appear as Othello and Desdemona. Brad Boesen plays Iago, with Equity actress Mary Douglass as Iago’s long-suffering wife, Emilia. Other featured performers are John Marinovich as Roderigo, still-hopeful suitor to Desdemona, and Cory Misek as Cassio, for a time Othello’s most-trusted aide. The rest of the ensemble includes Marie Barrett, Mark Bestul, Noelle Bohaty, Stephen Buhler, Darin Hemmer, Chris O’Connor, and Richard Sibley. Mr. Marinovich is also the fight choreographer.

Support for Flatwater Shakespeare’s presentation of “Othello” has been provided by the Cooper Foundation, the Lincoln Arts Council, the Nebraska Arts Council, and the Woods Charitable Trust. For more information, go to flatwatershakespeare.org.

Othello
Dates: October 6-9, 13-16, 20-23; Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Lincoln Community Playhouse
2500 S. 56th Street, Lincoln
Tickets: 402-473-2897
$18 Adults; $15 Seniors; $10 Students