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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Introducing Marshall Carby, Our New Executive Artistic Director!


Flatwater Shakespeare Company is delighted to welcome Marshall Carby as its new Executive Artistic Director. Mr. Carby's experience, expertise, and enthusiasm make him exceptionally well-qualified to continue Flatwater Shakespeare's rich tradition of bringing high-quality performances and educational programs to southeastern Nebraska, especially to its home in Lincoln.

Prior to Mr. Carby’s arrival in Nebraska, he spent seven years at Highlands Playhouse in Highlands, North Carolina, directing several productions while he served as the Associate Artistic Director. For two years, he was the Artistic Director, overseeing seasons of plays and musicals that originally graced Broadway and London's West End.

After moving to Nebraska, Mr. Carby served as the Community Advancement Officer for the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation. Community enrichment, non-profit philanthropy, and corporate giving were all active parts of this position. The skills developed at PCCF enable Mr. Carby to champion arts advocacy.

Education is a high priority for Mr. Carby, who previously was Humanities Department Chair at Eastern Oklahoma State College. He understands how to engage, mentor, and encourage learners of diverse ages and backgrounds.

Mr. Carby brings a wealth of practical knowledge about the nuts-and-bolts of performance and engagement, having served as Stage Manager for the Omaha Symphony Association since 2019. He supervises load-ins for all symphony productions, works with the union crew, and assists in managing logistics and execution of the Symphony’s educational tours. Since March 2020, he has also been Digital Production Manager, helping to move the organization onto a virtual platform to continue providing music during the pandemic.

Outside of his arts activities, Marshall Carby loves spending time with his wife, Sarah Klocke, who is Director of the Theatre and Communication Program at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha. They enjoy the companionship of Nola, their dog, and Little, their cat.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

A Message from Executive Artistic Director, Summer Lukasiewicz

Though my varied work experience both in and outside the theatre gave me a strong foundation, there was a great deal about leading a nonprofit theatre organization that I had to learn on the job. There were many missteps and bumps in the road over the last four seasons. For those involved where I tripped up, messed up, and missed the mark, please forgive me. For those who came alongside me as I moved through the growing pains, know that the growth Flatwater Shakespeare has experienced and surviving 2020 would not have been possible without you.

I have striven to lay a solid financial foundation for the long term health and growth of the company. Through tight budget oversight, expansion of funding applications and donor outreach, Flatwater Shakespeare has been able to increase programs and increase accessibility both to theatre and to theatre education in Lincoln and rural communities across southeast and south central Nebraska. We continue to produce Shakespeare in a more traditional “full length” (it’s never *really* full length) shows and also reach a broad range of community members including young children through our Short Shakes productions and our new educational tour, creating positive entry points into the joy of theatre. We believe these young people will grow into lifelong theatre supporters who know they have a seat at the Shakespearean table.

In 2021, we were able to add a part time Education Director to our small staff. Ashley Kobza’s creativity, experience, and passion for theatre education brought a new vitality to our education programs. I have no doubt that education and outreach can grow exponentially and have an impact that I cannot begin to imagine. I would have drowned in the regulations of nonprofit funding without the support of Linda Zinke, FSC’s Operations Manager, and would have been out of my depth for certain without the wise guidance of Resident Scholar Stephen Buhler.

The possibilities are limitless! We have a solid foundation on which to grow. We have 20 seasons of high quality theatre under our belts. We survived the heartbreaking loss of our 2020 season and seized the opportunity to return, refresh, and renew in 2021. Flatwater Shakespeare is part of a beautiful community of artists seeking to welcome more and more people into the stories. I take my bow here at the end of 2021 and trust the story will continue.

Break all the legs,

Summer Lukasiewicz -- Executive Artistic Director, 2018-2021

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The Scottish Play on Broadway in 2022!

“Daniel Craig is not only a great film actor but a magnificent theatre actor as well,” said producer Barbara Broccoli. “I am thrilled that he will be supporting the return of Broadway playing this iconic role with the exquisitely talented Ruth Negga making her Broadway debut and under the expert direction of Sam Gold.”


Sunday, September 26, 2021

"Not of an age, but for all time" -- a review of Robert McCrum's *Shakespearean*


Review of Robert McCrum, ShakespeareanOn Life and Language in Times of Disruption

Jay Parisi, Daily Beast September 26, 2o21

In My Year Off, Robert McCrum wrote in absorbing detail about the consequences of a massive stroke that left him paralyzed on the left side at the age of 42. This acclaimed memoir was followed by a mix of novels and nonfiction, including a magisterial and entertaining life of P.G. Wodehouse. Now, in the wake of a tumultuous time (Brexit, Trump, pandemic) comes Shakespearean, a deeply personal look at the most admired playwright and poet in history, one who paid “fierce attention to the anxieties of his public,” a supremely gifted author who somehow, during a dangerously fraught era of political intrigue and plague, “mastered the art of dissimulation to shelter his creative privacy.” McCrum argues that today, in the wake of massive disruption, “we are closer than ever to Shakespeare and his world.”

No writer attracts more attention (or more deservedly) than Shakespeare, who showed us more than anyone else how language itself both informs and disrupts reality. His name alone conjures, as McCrum notes, “a universe of characters, poetry, and scenes and ideas undergoing constant reinterpretation by audiences, actors, and artists across the world.” I doubt that anyone reading this will not have seen a few of his plays—Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet. For me, his sonnets have become part of my mental furniture, recited in the wee sleepless hours for consolation.

I suspect most of us have a treasure house of memories related to Shakespeare. Once, for instance, I played Marc Antony in Julius Caesar in the ninth grade in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and I still utter certain lines in my dreams: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; / I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” In 1970, I watched a staggering performance of Macbeth set in Vietnam during the war. Twenty-odd years ago, I directed an idiosyncratic but lively production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at my oldest son’s elementary school—all of the actors were 10 or 11. Once in Rome during the heyday of Silvio Berlusconi, I attended a shockingly apt performance of Henry IV, part 2, where we heard declaimed: “At a time of night when most of his subjects are asleep, / The king is up and busy about his affairs.” The crowd of English-speaking Italians laughed and cheered.

It seems that Shakespeare is always present, ever relevant to current circumstances, both trenchant and reassuring. For all this, it’s impossible to take in the scope and depth of his work in one fell swoop—that phrase itself originating in Macbeth! It’s no wonder many readers over the years have wondered if, indeed, a glove maker’s son from Stratford called Will Shakespeare could have written these brilliant plays. (McCrum dismisses the anti-Stratford crowd with a bold sweep of the hand!)

The goal of Shakespeareanan immensely stylish, entertaining, and informative book—is to connect the plays with audiences old and new, exploring the “secrets of literary inspiration, the magic of creativity itself,” and to vindicate the claim that “Shakespeare’s words and ideas are part of our shared humanity.” Few critics in universities would attempt such a project, and this leaves a broad expanse open for McCrum, who roams freely in the language of the plays, in history itself, making sharp judgments of value. He notes, toward the end of this book, that Harold Pinter (whom he knew well as editor and friend) used to whip off his glasses at the conclusion of any new play and ask, “Does it remain?”

Well, Shakespeare remains. McCrum is sure of this!

He recalls that, after his stroke, the Complete Works of Shakespeare became his “book of life,” and that “almost the only words that made sense were snatches of Shakespeare.” Fortunately, he had already metabolized many of these words, seeing countless productions from schoolboy days onward. Living in London, with its abundant theatrical life, he joined a circle of passionate friends dedicated to seeing new productions of the Bard’s work—and 20 years of dedicated viewing of these plays informs this book. He recalls that “several starry highlights live on in my memory: Derek Jacobi’s Lear, Harriet Walter’s Brutus, Andrew Scott’s Hamlet, Vanessa Redgrave’s Volumnia…” A well-turned line in a performance can suddenly “become a revelation” and “sponsor a new interpretation.”

In 300 or so elegantly written pages, McCrum roams through the life and work, examining the impact of Shakespeare’s plays over many centuries. In every time and place, he suggests, the play at hand could address national dilemmas. The Bard’s plays repeatedly face into crisis, even calamity, which is really nothing more than the human condition. Shakespeare never shrank from trouble, showing immense courage in his way, as when he opted to compose Macbeth in the wake of plots against the Stuart crown. “He would be at his most Shakespearean when choosing to write—for a Scottish king who lived in dread of assassination, and was obsessed with witchcraft—a new play about dynastic succession in which the protagonist, a psychopathic Scottish regicide, makes rendezvous with witches and himself invokes the supernational in a satanic rhapsody:

Stars, hide your fires,

Let not light see my black and deep desire;

The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be

Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.

As ever, Shakespeare illumines his dramatic subject by “exploiting to the limit his penchant for dramatic antitheses.”

McCrum’s reflections on the American reception of Shakespeare are engrossing, and he observes that his “lines were often consoling but also provocative” for the original settlers in New England in the 17th century, who confronted a vast and threatening situation. They turned to Shakespeare as well as the Bible for assurance and wisdom. Lincoln, of course, famously alluded to Othello in his First Inaugural. And Lincoln’s opposite, the Confederate commander Jefferson Davis, urged his troops forward by quoting Richard III, inviting them to imagine a time when “grim-visaged war would smooth a wrinkled front.” From Mark Twain to Malcolm X and Homer Simpson, the words of Shakespeare burst forth, often in garbled versions, to explain a situation or arouse empathy or understanding. It was, perhaps, Emerson, the father of Transcendentalist thought, who put it most succinctly when he suggested that Shakespeare was a writer who “dwarfs all writers without a solitary exception.”

The question remains: How did Shakespeare create the Shakespearean universe? McCrum offers tantalizing hints throughout, but he’s not able to explain the genius. Nobody is. Indeed, “the ambiguities of Shakespeare’s life and work never fade.” On the other hand, this is part of the fun: trying to comprehend this unending and always various universe of language, thought, and meaning. Time and again, the Bard “doubled down on his lifelong instincts as a playwright,” which in McCrum’s eloquent formulation means “to engage his curiosity to the full, to locate his drama at the crossroads of maximum danger.”

It’s left to a novelist, Anthony Burgess—nicely quoted by McCrum—to suggest where we might look for an answer to the large question of how the playwright managed this conjuring trick that has entranced us for some four centuries. Shakespeare, says Burgess, “is ourselves, ordinary suffering humanity, fired by moderate ambitions, concerned with money, the victim of desire, all too mortal… We are all Will. Shakespeare is the name of one of our redeemers.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

*UNSHAKEN* Festival at The Mill NIC September 23!


    September 23rd


    The Mill -- Nebraska Innovation Campus

    2021 Transformation Drive . Lincoln, NE


      *UNSHAKEN* runs approximately two hours with a 15 minute intermission.

The Seven Acts of a
Shakespeare-Lover's Life

Written and performed by Lisa Hajda
Directed by Stephen Buhler

Based on Jacques' seven ages of man speech from As You Like It, this tribute allows us to follow a Shakespeare lover through the seven--well, not quite--acts of her life as she light-heartedly recounts the ages.

The Idea of Actium

Written and Performed by Hannah Clark
Directed by Sarah Lynn Brown

A queer woman teaches an example lecture on Antony & Cleopatra as she applies to work for a Catholic college, one where her old flame also works. Woven between the lecture and her memories, Actium explores how love changes us all and the world we live in.

Troilus and Cressida:
The Musical

Written and Performed by Paul Shaw
Directed by Ashley Kobza

Drew is an up and coming musical theatre writer attempting to adapt a musical version of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida for a local Shakespeare company. The only problem is the play is a problem. As they lead the artistic staff through their vision of the show, ideas come together, dissonance becomes harmony, and an act of creation will force Drew to reckon with their fear of the unknown and the vulnerability of the creative process.


Written by Dee Ryan
Performed by Fred Vogel
Directed by Summer Lukasiewicz

Something's rotten in Denmark and Verona and Scotland and Messina and the Forest of Arden and that storm-drenched heath, but our hardscrabble detective, Sergeant Broadguess, is on the case! The evidence and the plot thicken quicker than you can say "when Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane!"

Feminine Endings

Written and Directed by Sarah Lynn Brown
Performed by Vivian Parr

Serving as a prologue for a larger work, this piece provides an introduction to Shakespeare's Feminine Endings and Femme Characters, bringing a playful and slightly irreverent take on literary scholarship.

This work reminds us:

  • not to take ourselves too seriously,
  • not to hide ourselves (and our stories) in the dark, and
  • not to let anyone assign what characters we are allowed to embody.

All of Shakespeare. Is. For. All of us.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

*Shakespeare Reimagined* Tours Nebraska October 31 -- November 4

The Trans-Nebraska Players (a quintet featuring David Neely, Professor of Violin, and Clark Potter, Professor of Viola from UNL; the cello and flute professors from UNK; and a piano professor from Chadron State) have embarked on “Shakespeare Reimagined”, a concert which features arrangements of orchestra music inspired by Shakespeare performed simultaneously with texts from those plays spoken in and around the music. We have already performed a portion of the program at Churchill College Cambridge, UK, in Oct. of 2019, and we will perform the entire program four times in Chadron (Oct. 31), Scottsbluff (Nov. 1), Kearney (Nov. 3) and Lincoln (Nov. 4). The Lincoln performance will happen on Nov. 4 at 7:30 pm in the Westbrook Recital Hall (room 119 of Westbrook Music Building) on the UNL campus. The concert is free.
UNK Shakespeare scholar Marguerite Tassi has chosen the texts, and retired UNL Professor of Choral Activities James Hejduk will speak the texts along with the music of the Trans-Nebraska Players. The plays of Shakespeare have inspired so much fabulous music for symphony orchestra, but the great bulk of that music has no words of The Bard. This program aims to present a different twist by attempting a pairing of the two!
Featured music:
Arthur Sullivan’s “Bouree: and “Danse Grotesque” from Masquerade Suite from The Merchant of Venice
Edward Elgar’s “Interludes I and II” from Falstaff: Orchestral Study (with texts from The Merry Wives of Windsor and 2 Henry IV)
Henry Purcell’s “Chaconne” from The Fairy Queen (an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Mendelssohn’s “Overture” and “Nocturne” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Korngold’s “Garden Scene” from Much Ado About Nothing
Tchaikovsky’s “Love Theme” from Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Photo: a publicity shot for the 1935 Warner Brothers A Midsummer Night's Dream, which extensively uses Mendelssohn's incidental music (as rearranged by Korngold).

Monday, September 13, 2021

A New Location for our Remaining September Shows!



Friends, we learned a lot last Thursday when UNSHAKEN: A Shakespeare-Inspired Solo Festival opened at the Telegraph Mill Coffee & Tea!

We learned just how indomitable, talented, and flexible our artists really are. In the face of technical challenges and noise from traffic and passersby, they performed the literal HECK out of their pieces. We also learned just how patient, generous, and devoted our fans and audiences are. And despite the Telegraph Mill being a charming, welcoming, and community-minded place, we learned it’s not an ideal space for our September offerings of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and UNSHAKEN. SO we’ll be moving the last two performances of these shows to *drum roll* :


Yes, fear not, gentle audience! The show will still go on: we’ll still be partnering with The Mill, but in a quieter, less trafficked space with better acoustics to better serve our artists and YOU!

Here are all the details:

☕️ WHERE: The Mill Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Dr. #1350, Lincoln. Street parking is available and is metered (pay by phone or pay station) until 6:00 pm. After 6:00, it’s free.

✨September 16th @ 7:00 - A Midsummer Night’s Dream✨

🖋September 23rd @ 7:00 - UNSHAKEN: A Shakespeare-Inspired Solo Festival🖋

🌺Our 2-person A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a zippy, 50-minute, raucously funny event and is suitable for all ages!🧚🏼 NOTE: For this event, please bring lawn chairs or blankets (just like you do for our tours of city parks)!

📝UNSHAKEN is a solo festival with original works from artists from all over Nebraska and beyond. This event is 2 hours long with one 15-minute intermission and is for audiences ages 15 and up.🎤

No ticket necessary, free will donation appreciated. Got questions? Email us at flatwatershakespearecompany@gmail.com