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Sunday, February 14, 2021

Meet Ashley Kobza, Our New Education Director!


Ashley Kobza joins the Flatwater Shakespeare Company staff with over a decade of experience as a theatre artist and arts educator. Born and raised in small-town Nebraska, Ashley received her BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. After undergrad, she set out on a ten-year journey that took her to grad school, theaters, communities, and colleges across Ohio, Illinois, San Diego, and Kansas.  She moved back to the land of Goldenrod and Cottonwood in May of 2018 and has been actively working in the Omaha and Lincoln theatre communities ever since. Highlights include Circle Mirror Transformation at BlueBarn, assistant director of The Penguin Project at Lincoln Community Playhouse, and contract work for The Rose Theatre. Ashley also sits on the board for Blixt Locally Grown. 

 

Ashley earned an MFA in Acting and New Work from the Ohio State University where she was afforded the abundantly awesome opportunity to work and train with the Royal Shakespeare Company in their Stand up for Shakespeare initiative. It was through this work that she began to understand Shakespeare's texts for the vibrantly visceral, living-breathing experience that they are. Whatever Shakespeare situation she may find herself in, pedagogical or performative, Ashley begins from a place of curiosity and accessibility all with a "do first, analyze second" approach. When she's not at her desk working and writing away, you will find her among the local trails and trees with her two dogs slapping high fives with all the flora and fauna or at home with her two cats binging late 80s early 90s TV.

 

Welcome to the FSC family, Ashley!


Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Flatwater Shakespeare Invites New Solo Works

 


 

The play’s the thing!

 

Flatwater Shakespeare Company seeks writer-performers to create short solo works for live and virtual performances. These would be original, previously unproduced, Shakespeare-inspired pieces for individual actors. Each writer-performer will be paired with a director who will help get the performance on its feet. Artists whose works are selected for production will be paid a stipend.

 

Examples of worthwhile scripts might include a closer look at a lesser-known character; an exploration of your unique experience on stage or in the classroom; a personal confession about why you love or loathe Shakespeare.

 

All genres and approaches are welcome. The works can be humorous, dramatic, or musical. They must be able to be staged with minimal props and set (such as a table and chair). Finally, the works must include passages of Shakespearean text.

 

Performances will take place in Fall 2021 (September-October). There will be two weeks of rehearsal, Sunday through Friday evenings. The dates and location for the show are still being determined. The pieces will also be filmed for a subsequent online festival.

 

To be considered as a participant, please submit the following to

flatwatershakespearecompany@gmail.com:

 

Subject line with your last name and “Solo Submission.”

 

Message with your full name; the name of your work-in-progress; a statement of your commitment to rehearsals, public performances, and filming; and an estimate of eventual run-time between 10 and 30 minutes.

 

PDF attachment of the first few pages (no more than 10) of your script. The file should be labeled with your last name, first name, and the script’s working title.

 

Initial submissions must be sent by April 15, 2021. Questions can also be sent to the same email address.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

New Website at the Same Address!


Working with the wonderful folks at Firespring in Lincoln, NE, we are proud to launch a new, revitalized website!

To see the new features, please visit us at 

https://flatwatershakespearecompany.org/

In the coming weeks, we'll be announcing more about our productions and programs for 2021. 

Stay tuned!!


 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Job Announcement: Education Director for Flatwater Shakespeare!

 


Theatre artists, educators, and supporters! Please help us spread the word as we seek to find a dynamic, creative, collaborative, highly qualified theatre educator to serve as Education Director for FSC!


FLATWATER SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

Job Description

Position Title:  Education Director        

FLSA Status:  Part-time, non-exempt

Reports to:   Executive Artistic Director    

Hours:  Approximately 10 per week

Location:  Remote and on location in Lincoln, NE & surrounding rural communities

Expectation of all employees

Each employee shall support the organization’s mission, vision and values by exhibiting excellence and competence, collaboration, innovation, respect, accountability and ownership. 

General Summary

The Education Director will be responsible for coordinating and implementing education activities (youth-senior citizens) for Flatwater Shakespeare Company.

Essential Job Functions

FSC Education Director will

        Expand current courses and develop new curricula for a variety of process-focused Shakespeare/theatre education programs to be scheduled throughout the year 

o   K-12 and adult

o   Virtual and in-person

o   Single session; Multiple session; Week-long

o   Connected with FSC shows and stand-alone

        Recruit and train high quality teaching artists and interns as needed

        Collaborate with community and organization representatives to expand programming to new neighborhoods and communities

        Meet with Executive Artistic Director twice monthly (via Zoom)

        Present reports to the Board of Directors at scheduled board meetings (via       Zoom); typically bi-monthly

        Develop and operate programming within a set budget

        Other duties as assigned


Education and Experience

        Training and experience in Shakespeare (text and production)

        Training and experience in teaching and curriculum development

        Training and experience in theatre

        Bachelor's Degree in related field preferred; relevant skills and experience       will also be considered

 

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

        Savvy with technology and a variety of platforms to increase accessibility           to virtual programming

        Reliable internet access

        Reliable transportation to/from in person programs

Disclaimer

The statements contained in this job description are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees and are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of tasks. 

Submission

Please send CV and cover letter to Executive Artistic Director Summer Lukasiewicz

at summeraluke@gmail.com prior to January 20, 2021.


Monday, October 26, 2020

"Flatwater Shakes Me" Celebrates 20 Years of Performances


 

 

Flatwater Shakespeare Company invites everyone to join us for an evening of speeches, soliloquies, and stories in celebration of 20 years of educational programs and quality performances. The online event takes place Tuesday, November 10, from 8 to 10 p.m.

 

The program is free and can be streamed on Flatwater Shakespeare Company's Facebook page, facebook.com/shakespeareLNK, with technical assistance provided by Red Rebel Media.

 

Actors from throughout the history of Flatwater Shakespeare will be joined by supporters from the Lincoln community in sharing some of their favorite Shakespearean passages. Richard Nielsen returns as Polonius giving advice, as he did in FSC's 2015 “Hamlet.” Margy Ryan gives us Shakespeare's idealized view of love in Sonnet 116 and John Burney a less-than-ideal view in Sonnet 130. The list of other FSC performers includes Stephen Buhler, Keith Ghormley, Alex Hamilton, Jazmine Huertas, Emily Martinez, and Fred Vogel. Newcomers include Jill Cockson, Malin Hayden, Laura Lippman, Holden Meier, Elsa Meyer, Nova Meyer, Amy A. Miller, Dana Rabe, and Dustin Reckling.


There will also be personal stories about what Flatwater Shakespeare has contributed to people's lives and about why the arts always matter, but especially in times such as these. Speakers include Becky Boesen of BLIXT (and past FSC Executive Director), FSC founder and first Artistic Director Bob Hall, Dawn Marie Moe of Shakespeare on the Square in Aurora, NE, FSC actor Paul Shaw, FSC actor Raimy Washington, FSC Stage Manager Extraordinaire Michelle Zinke, and FSC actor Jean-Paul Zuhur.


FSC Executive Artistic Director Summer Lukasiewicz will host the celebration. "I started 2020 by directing 'Romeo and Juliet,'" she says, "getting to work with a beautiful company of actors and didn't get to have you, the audience, in room with us. So we moved the show online. Then our summer production moved to fall and then into the new year. But 2020 was our 20th season of Flatwater Shakespeare, interrupted as it was, and we WILL celebrate it!" She hopes that all who have enjoyed past shows or who just believe in the power of the arts can help honor the past and toast the future.


Donations will be accepted during and after the event at Flatwater Shakespeare's website, www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How Shakespeare Continues to Matter



Two months ago, we had to transform our *Romeo and Juliet* into a streaming video experience. If we'd been able to welcome you to Turbine Flats and its wonderful community space, we'd have presented you with programs including notes from Executive Artistic Director Summer Lukasiewicz and Education Director Stephen Buhler. Here's what they had to say -- 


In this timeless piece of theatre lives a memorable story that has been retold and reimagined countless times over the past four hundred years: a long-held and unexplained feud; a pair of love-struck teens; a tragic ending.

Tucked in the corners, between the big brawls and the love sonnets, are two key lessons that might be missed if we focus exclusively on feuding families and star-crossed lovers:

The first from the Healer, Friar Lawrence, a man of God and an herbalist, giving a warning on the dual nature of humankind and the disaster that awaits those who allow the darkness to overpower the light:

Two such opposed kings encamp them still / In man as well as herbs – grace and rude will; / And where the worser is predominant, / Full soon the canker death eats up that plant. (Act 2, scene 3)

The second from Romeo in conversation with the Dealer, an apothecary he seeks out for a poison to end his life, giving a warning on the evil nature of greed:

There is thy gold, worse poison to men’s souls, / Doing more murder in this loathsome world / Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell. / I sell thee poison; thou hast sold me none. (Act 5, scene 1)

The morals woven into the tragic tale continue to foreshadow our own stories. Are we allowing the worser parts of our nature to be predominant? Are we tolerating the murderous destruction that follows from greed?

Here is our retelling for 2020:
A play written in the 1590s.
Music written in 2019.
An English playwright.
An American folk artist.
Twenty-three characters.
And eight actors.

These actors, coming together as an ensemble and blended with Andrea von Kampen’s beautiful music, have opened their hearts to each other in order to breathe fresh life into a centuries-old text.

Tonight, we offer it to you and ask you to open your hearts to hear this play with new ears.

-- Summer Lukasiewicz


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has cancelled classes for this week; after spring break all instruction will be remote for the rest of the semester and possibly beyond. I had already suspended classroom meetings for my courses but am grateful that students and my colleagues (and I) will have some additional time to adjust to this new reality. Countless schools -- from K-12 through colleges and universities -- across the country have ceased face-to-face meetings. Countless arts productions and presentations have been cancelled. 


In the face of current developments, my brilliant and big-hearted friend Dr. Wendy Beth Hyman, a Renaissance scholar who teaches at Oberlin College, shared these wise words with her students:

"We don't get to choose when we were born. We don't choose what natural disasters, epidemiological emergencies, stock market crashes, tyrannical regimes, or wars our generations face. We only get to choose how we react. We can use it as a way to pour our energy back into the world. If you care about history, keep a journal. Future historians will want to know about what it was like to live through this time. If you are a political activist, document the lies. Journalists will need our informed attention. If you love literature, write. If you are an artist, make art. Make art filled with whatever you have, even if that art comes from anguish. This guy -- Shakespeare -- wrote through the plague. What will you write?"

Our last shared viewing experience in my Shakespeare on Screen course this semester turned out to be the scenes leading into Intermission from Franco Zeffirelli's lovely 1968 film of Romeo and Juliet. The poignance of the marriage (especially knowing how a plague will affect the lovers and the Friar) and of our own historical moment was deeply felt by all.
Let us all accept Professor Hyman's challenge and, also, let us all take very good care of each other -- and of ourselves -- in these extraordinary times and after.

-- Stephen Buhler 


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

*Romeo and Juliet* at Turbine Flats, March 18-22 and 25-29!



William Shakespeare's timeless drama about star-crossed lovers is given a strikingly contemporary look and sound in Flatwater Shakespeare Company's new production of Romeo and Juliet under the direction of Executive Artistic Director Summer Lukasiewicz. Performances will take place in Turbine Flats, 2124 “Y” Street in Lincoln, Wednesdays through Sundays, March 18-22 and 25-29 at 7:00 p.m. 

Visit flatwatershakespearecompany.org for tickets and further information.

The play begins Flatwater Shakespeare's 20th season and features original music by Andrea von Kampen. The title characters fulfill their destiny in one another. As other values and loyalties are overshadowed, the young lovers defy every aspect of their society. They hope to brush aside (and even to reconcile) their families’ long-standing feud, choosing love over honor. “Deny thy father and refuse thy name,” Juliet proposes, “Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, / And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” Increasingly isolated from friends and confidants, as well as family, the couple nevertheless cannot escape the violence and retribution sustained by the feud. Exiled from Verona for killing Tybalt in revenge for his friend Mercutio's death, Romeo returns to the city for Juliet’s sake. Believing that Juliet is dead, Romeo seeks to rejoin his bride in the afterlife. Juliet’s response shows how thoroughly and devastatingly love has taken hold of them. They choose to turn against their world and against themselves but never against each other.

Director Summer Lukasiewicz has adapted the practices of Shakespeare's own company to today's theatrical styles, with all actors assuming a variety of roles. Raimy Washington and Paul Shaw play Juliet and her Romeo, as well as servants of their families' households. The ensemble includes Flatwater Shakespeare veterans Matthew Beijjani, Luke Glassman, and Katie Hoppe. Joining the company are Emily Funkey, Jazmine Huertas, and Fred Vogel.

Singer-songwriter Andrea von Kampen, a top ten finalist in NPR's Tiny Desk Concert competition in 2016, has composed and recorded five songs, along with incidental music, which will be heard during the production. The songs for “Romeo and Juliet” will also be released as a digital EP March 13 on streaming platforms. Kat Cover's costumes offer a visual symphony in denim. Will Cover's fight choreography builds on inspirations from “West Side Story.” Ann Marie Pollard is the dance choreographer and Lauren Porter is the sound designer and assistant stage manager. Michelle Zinke is the stage manager and Stephen Buhler is the dramaturg.

Flatwater Shakespeare is a not-for-profit theater company, dedicated to the principle that Shakespeare Is for Everyone. Along with providing innovative educational programs, the Company brings to audiences the richness of the works of William Shakespeare as they should be experienced: played out by a dynamic ensemble of performers on stage.