GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – It’s getting easier to brush up on your Shakespeare.
Plays that are more than 400 years old are more popular than ever in our region.
So far this summer, six productions have been tackled.
It used to be years between Shakespeare offerings in Northeastern Wisconsin.
Today, adaptations to modern life have taken the fear out of playing and seeing Shakespeare.
Play-by-Play Theatre of Green Bay featured a pop-rock band in its version of “Much Ado About Nothing” that it presented twice in Whitney Park.
The comedy was directed by true resident Shakespearean, Carolyn Silverberg, who also has an online exploration site with friends.
“Inspecting Shakespeare” gets to the nitty gritty of famous monologues and adds to understanding William Shakespeare’s elaborate thoughts in important scenes.
Because of college and university theater programs, our talent pool has expanded greatly, and those players love challenges.
One is Kevin James Sievert, as in the energized “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (my review) that The Forst Inn Arts Collective is performing to July is continuing to July 31 in Tisch Mills.
Another is Darrick Bruns, as the unhinged prince of Denmark in “Hamlet” that Seven Ages Theatricals performed three times outdoors in Sheboygan City Green.
Another is comical actor/creator Mike Eserkaln, as the vainglorious constable in “Much Ado About Nothing” in the Play-by-Play Theatre production.
Wisconsin even has a touring company, Summit Players Theatre, that will perform “Much Ado About Nothing” in 23 state parks this summer.
New techniques in make-up and costuming and staging invigorate audience viewing.
Troupes are not afraid to add touches of their own, such as original music and songs in Door Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” (my review) that is continuing to Aug. 26 at Bjorklunden near Baileys Harbor.
The plays are funny and horrific and surreal and complex – and there are reasons all the world’s still a stage for Shakespeare’s brilliance.
Often, his work says people today are not that different – romantic or rascally – than those at the turn of the 16th century. And he put it down for the ages.