Monday, December 1, 2014

In the Words of a Student

Do you remember when you first fell in love with theater? If you're reading this, chances are the theater has touched your life in some way. We feel lucky to see its power for building community every week at our open workshops and in the work we do in schools.

For many of the schools we donate programs to, like Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (MCSM), a public high school in East Harlem, we are the only drama program available at the school.  We asked Shinelle Black, a 9th grader at MCSM, to tell us what theater and drama mean to her.  Here are her words.

The word 'drama' by definition is the art of theater, but to me drama is a mirror of my humanity. A depiction of all the aspects of our real realities and the fictional worlds our imaginations create. Over the course of my life I have spent more than four years taking drama classes and portraying characters. Through these characters I have learned more about myself and the person I wish to become.

I have learned the importance of team work, and gained experience in collaborating with others to achieve a common goal. In the spring of 2012, my middle school put on a main stage production of "The Diary of Ann Frank." Despite the fact that I did not have a role on stage, I helped organize the sets and props. In doing that, you realize how important every aspect of creating the art is and, henceforth, the necessary role of each individual. Opportunities like this promote team spirit which is a great element to the work environment in the future.

Through drama you learn how the smallest things can make a real impact on others. For example, you learn how important text is. How your words could alter the whole mood of the world and could forever change someone for better or worse. You learn how color could change the feelings you get, you gain a real appreciation for the art in the world. Drama teaches you how to pay attention to the smallest details, and how one sound or sight, maybe even smell, could set off a chain of reactions.  

Drama's an important part of my life. Having people to share that passion with makes you know that you will always have a sense of community and comradery.  Since moving to New York, I have had some hard days and I know having something to look forward to every week makes it better. Every student deserves to have access to the same sense of family as I do.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Reasons to see a performance of Edward IV by Thomas Heywood

#1) The play fictionalizes the exuberance and wanton ways of "The Playboy King". With fifteen plus (alleged) children to his name, you should see this play if only to count the amount of women Edward kisses.

#2) The play’s subtitle reads like a cheap novella. See the play to decide for yourself if the Bastard Falconbridge deserves such small type.

The First And
 Second Partes of King Edward
 The Fourth
His mery pastime with the Tanner of Tamworth
as also his loue to faire Mistrisse Shoare,
her great promotion, fall and miserie,
and lastly the lamentable death
of both her and her hus-

Likewise the besieging of London, by the Bastard
Falconbridge, and the valiant defence of
the same by the Lord Maior and
the Cittizens.

#3) Thomas Heywood penned at least another 219 plays. If you like this one, you'll have a whole new canon of plays to explore.

#4) A crying Executioner? How often are we treated to sights like that in the theatre? Come to experience one of the plays most moving moments as a Headsman grows a conscience.

#5) It has a sequel which has already been written. Unlike "Game of Thrones" you don't have to wait five years to find out what happens next.

#6) Because the sentence "I's quite your gudeness with a bonny nag, sall swum away so deftly as the wind" makes more sense when spoken by an actor than when you have to read it on your own.

#7) Historically, London was indeed besieged by rebels and yet managed to repel them. You need to watch this play to fully grasp the finer points of their defense strategy.

#8) Come and see what Shakespeare's Richard III really means when he says that Edward IV "capers nimbly in a lady's chamber to the lascivious pleasing of a lute".

#9) It is a play which expertly skirts the line between comedy and tragedy.

#10) If none of the above reasons entice, think on this- you might never see it produced anywhere again because it's that obscure.
This might be your very last chance to see Edward IV, Part I.


Sybille Bruun
Executive Director
The Shakespeare Forum