Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: ‘Inspecting Shakespeare’ an inventive online series in Green Bay

Critic At Large

Play-by-Play Theatre

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Many interesting creations have surfaced because of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic – even William Shakespeare characters making appearances in Green Bay in a new way.

Most people wouldn’t put “Shakespeare” and “Green Bay” in the same sentence.

But the local professional Play-by-Play Theatre is changing that.

The roll started with offerings of Shakespeare in the park, first in 2019 in Whitney Park in downtown Green Bay and then in 2020 in a special, pandemic-influenced production at Heritage Hill State Historical Park in Allouez.

Now, for 10 weeks, Play-by-Play Theatre is offering a very clever series online. Famous monologues are visited in “Inspecting Shakespeare.”

In each episode, an expert sets the background for a specific short scene, and then an actor does his or her thing.

Scenes are described line by line, motive by motive – as if they are being examined with a magnifying glass.

Each episode lasts about 13 very dense minutes.

It’s amazing that 400-something years later, the scenes remain ripe for perpetual analysis.

The series is an offshoot of Green Bay resident Carolyn Silverberg’s Shakespearean training in London, England, along with a bit of osmosis from her college days.

Everything in the series is done online, so actors and experts appear from all over, even from the United Kingdom.

The first three episodes are available for viewing anytime on Play-by-Play Theatre’s Facebook page, and there are seven more episodes to come.

From the experts, you might feel like you are getting one-on-one personal and personable instruction.

The episodes so far:

+ Elizabeth Jolly performing as Emilia in “Othello,” Act IV, Scene 3, with Stephen Rupsch of St. Norbert College Theatre Studies as the inspector.

This episode speaks volumes beyond Stephen Rupsch’s engaging analysis of the “great, fun, sassy monologue” and Shakespeare’s way of “mining tragedy and comedy.”

Elizabeth Jolly is a graduate of St. Norbert College with advanced studies at American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Carolyn Silverberg is a graduate of St. Norbert College with advanced studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, England.

So… a mentor and two former students, one (Carolyn Silverberg) a guiding force for “Inspecting Shakespeare.”

Sooooo… Stephen Rupsch gets honors, being the first expert in the series, and in essence having his influencing aura showcased. And he gets to see a bit of what he has wrought as a teacher.

At least, that is my interpretation.

+ Teresa Aportela Sergott as Cleopatra in Act V, Scene 2 of “Antony and Cleopatra” with Kerry Harrison of the United Kingdom as the inspector.

Teresa Aportela Sergott is a local actor and director with a taste for elevated material.

Kerry Harrison is an independent tutor in Shakespearean studies in London, England. She is a graduate of Royal Holloway, University of London, so Carolyn Silverberg has called on a friend to take part in the series.

+ Brandon Ponschock as Bottom in Act IV, Scene 1 of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Carolyn Silverberg as the inspector.

Brandon Ponschock is a graduate of St. Norbert College and active with Play-by-Play Theatre.

As the inspector, Carolyn Silverberg gets to show her way of finessing an interpretation of a “dream full of wisdom.”

By the way, her brother, Matt Silverberg, created the infectious, 10-second burst of guitar music heard introducing each episode.

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