617-426-0863 (ext. 6)
All's Well That Ends Well performances are free
·Rent or bring a chair - rentals $7 + $3 deposit
·Reserve a spot close to the stage click here
Parking Boston Common Garage
·Bring a blanket to sit on
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Suffolk University present The Last Will, the final installment Distinguished Scholar in Residence Robert Brustein’s trilogy about the life of William Shakespeare.
The Last Will finds William Shakespeare retired at his country home in Stratford after decades of struggle and success in the city of London.
Presented each season in partnership with the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalists Society and McCarter & English. Shakespeare & the Law features a staged reading of a Shakespeare play (past performances include Othello, The Merchant of Venice and Henry V) performed by local, state and national lawyers, judges and other politicos. The presentation is followed by a panel discussion lead by a moderator.
CSC's touring initiative to local parks. The 2011 summer season features two productions: Shakespeare on Love, a collection of scenes, songs and sonnets from Shakespeare performed by Apprentices enrolled in Summer Apprentice Program, and A Shakespearean Cabaret featuring students from New England Conservatory.
A Boston tradition since 1996, CSC has been presenting fully-staged productions of Shakespeare plays free-of-charge to Boston audiences.
Sponsored by New England Conservatory, Commonwealth Concerts is a series of pre-show concerts featuring a wide range of musical stylings before performances of Shakespeare on the Common.
Special events--including our Annual Gala--held throughout the year to raise funds to support all of CSC's FREE programming.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Reserved chairs now available!Read More
Tour of the Parks
Various locations in Boston
Join us for the Tour of the Parks this July!Read More
Family Day/Free Fun Friday
Friday, July 26, 2013
Join us Friday July 26th for Family Day in conjunction with Highland Street Foundation's Free Fun Friday!Read More
Free For All Concerts
Join us in July for Free for All concerts!Read More
One of the best things about participating in the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's Apprenticeship program is the Master Classes. We are fortunate to be working with professors from colleges in and around the Boston area such as Emerson, Brandies, Boston University and others as well as successful acting coaches and actors in this area.
Week Four had us working with Anne Gottlieb, a wildly talented acting coach and successful actress in Boston. We worked on the technique of Michael Chekhov, nephew to the celebrated Anton Chekhov. For us, we were basically introduced to this technique. It, in its most basic form, is a psycho-physical approach to acting. The actor, through this practice, applies archetypal, broad human conditions (such as fear, hate, sorrow and love) to the individuality of the actor. The work is based in imagination, rather than personal experiences of the past. It is more physical rather than intellectual. We began by focusing on the rhythmic impulses within us; how they change and their relationships to our emotions. Anne then taught us about our Centers: head, heart and will centers, as well as our Directionals (front, back, right, left and of course up and down --- and how they can symbolize many things such as past, present, and future, heaven/hell, etc). We worked on archetypal gestures such as pushing, pulling, lifting, smashing, and penetrating. These are used through what is called the "inner body" and they can connect to the character's objective when applied to scene work. We began by physically performing the gestures, and then internalizing them, but imagining that we were still doing them. My gestures for Kate in our Henry IV scene was a penetrating sort of poke. After internalizing it, it gave me such an urgency as Kate. The scene took on another layer of intensity that made my skin tingle. It was an amazing experience.
Anne was such a great teacher. She really pushed us, and was genuinely curious to see where we could take our work. She took the time with each of us, and I could see from the beginning that she was 150% committed to teaching us something that we can take with us. I had dabbled a little in Michael Chekhov technique in college, but had honestly hated it then. This workshop completely changed my perspective! I loved working with this technique and could see it becoming a part of my work as an actor. I intend fully on pursuing further training. Anne's passion carried us through the class and inspired me to continue throwing myself into work like this.
Our fifth Week we worked on the Elizabethan World; studying the Elizabethan people themselves, what their beliefs were and how it effected their perception of alignment, and many other things to introduce us to their world. Sarah Hickler, of Emerson College, was our instructor for this class. She was such a joy to be learning from. Which is perfect because one of her main points was reinforcing Joy in our playing. Something that will stay with me as I continue my career pursuits. She began by explaining how Elizabethans related the alignment of their head, heart and feet with, well, the universe. For them, your feet were planted on the ground, beneath which was Hell, and above the head was heaven. You are suspended, as it were, between the Heavens and Hell and living within the horizontal plain of the world of man. So interesting! We also worked with beautiful images and the sensation of "expanding" beyond the limits of our limbs, and different dances which were groundbreaking for our scenes! We explored a Reverence dance to celebrate Kings and Queens, a Promenade of sorts, as well as a beautiful, prayerful dance celebrating the Moon, Sun and Stars, all while keeping in mind the world in which the Elizabethans inhabited.
My meager post can never fully capture how inspiring these workshops have been. As I said, they are highlights in our time here in the program.
"All's Well That Ends Well" rehearsals are moving forward as we draw nearer to tech and moving out to the Common. And the "Shakespeare On Love" performances have been wonderful, and we continue striving, my scene partner, Will and I to create and deepen our performance. (More on SOL and AWTEW, later).
All the best,
With one Monday, (our day off) I had tried to pack everything I could do into it. And, I didn't allow myself any rest at all. Lesson Learned. While it was a wonderful day of parental visits and Red Sox wins, I really needed to sleep in and calm down off the first week. As it turns out, a six days a week, 9am-5pm summer intensive is just that, an intensive. I found out, actually, I realized and accepted something this week that has always been said to me; that whatever I put into it (the program, acting, life, etc) is exactly what I will get out of it.
Honestly, I did personally struggle the first few days of vocal class. And because I knew I was tired, I excused myself from actually putting in 100% of my effort. My voice was straining in each exercise and I was easily fatigued. But, feeling the energy of my peers and Christine, Yo-El and Antonio, I was able to give myself a [figurative] swift kick in the ass and doubled my efforts. I realized this week that if I feared looking silly or over-exhausting myself, my skills would never grow and hey-wasn't that the reason I signed up for this program in the first place? By Wednesday afternoon (the second day of the second week), I was ready to dive in again!
We began working on the "Breakfast Warm up" in Yo-El's Movement classes which, while aligning the spine nicely, energizes the body and mind. It is also somewhat demanding in that it calls for a lot of core muscle use as well as exercising flexibility and strength in the legs, arms, and torso; key to allowing for a "free, moving body." It also sharpens my focus, which is great especially for the rehearsal for "Shakespeare On Love" (our collected scenes and sonnets show) which opens in week three! The second half of our work week, we delved into creative expression using our bodies to depict our sonnets' arguments through movement. It is amazing how immediately grounded I felt and how seeing the movement pieces of my class mates, made the sonnets all the more clear and precise.
Our Voice class had us working hard to relax our "outer muscles" this week. These include relaxing of the limbs, feet and stomach muscles. We also did a lot of work on alignment, and imaging our core and vocal apparatus. This helped us to locate and visualize where our sound stems from and where it travels through before coming out of the mouth into vibrations of words.
In combining the alignment work in both classes, we set to work on our scenes. Putting them on their feet and beginning to layer them with meaning after we had read the plays out loud with our partners. We did some AMAZING games that really enlivened my scene. The first game we played was to work on our "tennis" (back and forth) with our partners called "No! It's not that, it's this!" in which one tries to convince their partner that they are the right/more important/better one. This adds specificity to the scene and grounds the characters in their objectives. The next game we played was to do our scenes in complete darkness, whilst pseudo-competing with other scenes for the stage. (Anyone could speak their lines when the energy dropped). Next we added a "playground" of mats, chairs, and blocks, and literally played in it like children before starting our scene. It took away the self-consciousness, added newly discovered motives, and kick-started our energies. I found with the Kate/Hotspur scene from Henry IV there are layers of violence, confidence, intelligence, and love fighting with Kate's own fear within her. We were able through this exercise to understand the hurt that was in the relationship, and to explore the deep love that Kate and Hotspur share. It really brought our scene to another level.
As we explored our scenes and sonnets more, six of us also began to prepare for rehearsals for All's Well That Ends Well that begin on Wednesday the 27th.
More soon! Here we come, Week three!!!
All the best,
OH! It's been so long since I have posted! My apologies. After the wedding of my two great friends, some major auditions and the Apprentice program with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company I told you about starting last week (it's amazing) my life has been ridiculous! Here I go...
The meaning of "diving in head first" into work has most certainly changed for me in the first week, which has been one of the most enlivening I've had in theatre in my life! Strangely, I had been apprehensive of the first day in the week that lead up to the 14th of June, first day of class. But with our 'Welcome Speech' uttered by Antonio Ocampo-Guzman, Program Director, and formalities taken care of, we set off to begin PLAY.
One really amazing thing that Antonio brought to our attention this week was the importance of PLAY in theatre. The entire reason why we act is to have fun, explore and "hold the mirror up to nature" as it were. To reflect on the human condition. With this in mind, we began the first week aligning our bodies and voices to be open to PLAY.
We begin with a warm up that involves moving about the space and creating connections with the space and (more importantly) with each other. This is something I was sure I would have some trouble with (I am always a little awkward and quiet when I first meet people). Maybe it's the sheer adrenaline of starting something new that I love, maybe it's being surrounded by people as passionate as I feel, but I was completely able to allow myself to feel vulnerable and through that I made connections. This is one of the best parts of the warm up, establishing that raw eye contact. Just through that, our group grows closer together with each day. For me, and as it seems most actors, acting is about establishing connections to communicate.
Each teacher: Antonio, Christine Hammel (our voice instructor) and Yo-El Cassell (our dance instructor) works closely together to tie everything we are practicing together and create lessons and rehearsal activities that benefit us and allow for our creative forces to work in a supportive environment.
This week, we discussed the BIG questions like "Why do we even DO theatre nowadays?" (See Hamlet's speech to the players, coming soon!) and paid special attention to our own Self Awareness. (Another thing Antonio brought to our attention is having "Self Awareness," but not allowing yourself to give into "Self-Consciousness" in acting and in life). This self awareness was the focus of our warm ups for the six days of the first week. Being aware of your breathing to be able to speak the line, being aware of your spine to allow a full range of motion, etc. In Christine's Voice and Yo-El's Movement classes we explored and furthered the warm up to connect our breath and to release it to ground us.
The second part of each day is all rehearsal for our piece "Shakespeare on Love," which we will be performing next week! However, this first week, we work on iambic pentameter and then on building our Sonnet repertoire. (Of course I chose my favorite sonnet). We did several exercises to pull, tweak and shape our sonnets and then presented them, in workshop to the class. The are as dramatically fulfilling as any monologue and are infinitely able to be explored. We were assigned our scenes (mine's Kate and Hotspur from Henry IV, part 1) and told to read the play out loud with our partners before we were to begin work on the scene. (Shakespeare is meant to be heard not read, which is why we need to take it back to the theatre, but that's a soap box to stand on discussion for another post). We begin rehearsal in week two and I cannot wait!
One last bit of exciting news, I will be in the main stage production of All's Well That Ends Well with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company!
Great first week, here's to another!