Manhattan Shakespeare Project – Manhattan’s All-Female Shakespeare Company
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Two performances left! I for one cannot believe that time has flown by this fast. It seemed like just yesterday we were starting on rehearsals. That being said, if you want to see our show for the first time, or see it again, bring friends, bring a picnic, and come down to Morningside Park either today or tomorrow at six pm. For those of you that cannot make it, we are filming one of our performances, and that will be available online on our YouTube channel, so stay tuned for that later in the summer. While the end is nigh, we’re not quite done yet, and we promise we won’t stop giving it 112% until all is said and done. Also before you come out to see one of our final shows, please take a few minutes to watch an interview with our Director; Sarah. And again, thank you so much for all of your continued support.
Being a part of Al’ukhraa: A Study in Othello has been unlike any other. As we all journey into the final weekend of performances, I’d like to thank the rest of the cast, crew, and audiences for their constant support and enthusiasm. I feel deeply grateful for the opportunity to play so many diverse roles and for meeting some astoundingly talented artists and women. For me, performing Shakespeare is always a divine and savory treat – and these past few weeks and months have pushed me to exceed personal standards that I previously thought unfeasible. I admire Brabantio’s ferocity, Bianca’s wit, and Desdemona’s infallible honesty. It is my future hope to take lessons from each of the characters I have played and use them as examples to breach personal obstacles with bravery and grace.
I don’t have much to say – except I found some new colors for Othello, trying to work on keeping him grounded and envisioning Earth and Fire as his elements. Shakespeare and playing a male part were the main reason I wanted to be part of this project. I am grateful for that and for having met wonderful artistic collaborators that I grew to love deeply.
Thank you to each and every single person who came to see us. You were most of the time our fuel.
These past 2 and a half months have really been a roller coaster ride. From the first day, not quite knowing what I was getting myself into, through rehearsals of multi personality twists and turns. Finally coming outside for the first time only to be greeted by a torrential downpour, then working our way into performances. And now we enter our final week.
It is always bittersweet when parting with a project. There is a huge part of you that does not want to leave it alone because it now feels like a regular part of life. But every performer must say goodbye to a role, a costume piece, a favorite line…
What I will take with me is the love that I have had the pleasure of developing for my distinct characters. Emilia will now be one of the most devoted, hard core feminists I can proudly say I gave life to. Roderigo will be the funniest, sweetest little peevish teenaged boy I have come to adore. Cassio “is a proper man” (I can’t escape it when certain lines pop in my head).
This production has been a great platform to talk about the social injustices that we are presented with everyday. Not only has it opened up these discussions with our community, but I think it’s put a bigger fire in my belly to stand up and make a change in my own daily life. And maybe that doesn’t mean burning my bra in front of congress, but it does mean viewing the world differently and doing daily actions throughout my life, no matter how small, to turn the world into the place I want to live in. And that is a place filled with love and acceptance. Not hate.
Emilia, Cassio, Roderigo, Lodovico, Duke of Venice…out.
Here it is, the final weekend. One last run. The last weekend of staging props and costumes, and packing them away. There’s something to be learned from spending a long time with one play. i re-read the full play on my own, and found the characters to be so lifelike, so fully realized, that the ornate language in no way makes them difficult to relate to. I’ll miss this play, and NYC. But I know I will be back.
Hello, loyal patrons. We may be taking a short break right now, but rest assured we will be back and better than ever on July 7th at Summit Rock in Central Park. While we use this time to rest and hone our skills, I encourage you to tell everyone you know about us. To pique interest there is a short clip of our production below. view it, tweet it, show it to everyone. Remember, we don’t exist without you; our loyal audience, so tell everyone you know about us! Mothers, brothers, fathers, sisters, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, neighbors, classmates… you never know who might be interested. And remember while you’re at one of our performances, we encourage you to turn your phones on and film and takes pictures and tag us. We want to become as widespread as possible. And with that in mind, we look forward to seeing you all when we return.
The first time I heard my words echoing back to me from the audience I was severely taken aback by the power it had. I had to hold back tears, and even now sometimes find myself overwhelmed by the energy and the emotion. I understand how a collective can hold sway over an individual and I understand how words can captivate, engage, and enrage. I knew the Mic Checks would be awesome (as in full of awe) at the very least I hoped they would be. But now, having experienced them, having been in the nexus of the amplified voices I can feel the power, not just understand it intellectually. I think about how this power has been harnessed for positive change and how it has been twisted for hate and more nefarious purposes. I think about my place, my voice in the world. I think about how I have chosen to use my voice. I think about the voices that are silenced and what power they have locked away. I hope I have put my voice forth in a way that stirs people to want to live in a world of beauty and love. I hope I continue to understand the power of my voice and words and strive to never in a moment of haste or frustration forget that power. I look to the universe for guidance in all my flawed humanity.
It’s very exciting to be part of a production that runs for 4 non-consecutive weeks. When the first week was over, and boy what a great week it was, it felt good to take a break and let the material rest. When coming back to it in a new location, there is new information to be learned. A deepening of character and relationship, a skilled fluidity that comes with doing the play more than one weekend, and new surprises when speaking the text. After this second week of performance, I can’t wait to see what week 3 will bring us.
Another day another park. Today and tomorrow we’ll be in Morningside Park, but our audiences at Summit Rock have been wonderful. It gives me and everyone else joy to see so many people to show up and sit and observe our show. whether you’re just stopping by for a few minutes while walking your dog, or you’ve brought a picnic to enjoy along with the show, your time in viewing our performances is very valued. We can’t exist without you guys, and we love performing for you, interacting with you during the show, and listening to your feedback afterwards. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think the audience Q&A has been my favorite part of the whole show process. I love hearing the audience thoughts and how the show affected them, and more often than not the audience raises questions and points that we ourselves hadn’t thought of before and really deepen the experience. I hope we continue to receive excellent audience feedback for the rest of the show run, because not only does it connect our actresses with our audience, it also gives us a reason to keep working as hard as we can so we can earn that feedback.
After our break, we’re back and we’re now performing in two new locations: Summit Rock in central park, and Morningside park. After performing in Astoria park in Queens for the first half of our show, we will now be in Manhattan for the second half. A change in scenery means a change in spirit. It’s been a challenge adjusting to the new performance space, trying to tell our story in a different environment, but our actresses are doing a wonderful job. Central Park is certainly different than our previous location. Our performance space is more elevated and enclosed. There is gravel instead of grass. Our audience demographic could be more diverse or less diverse, but we must still do our best to continue performing. Our change of location actually works out for us, because now we can reach a whole new group of people and spread of message even farther. Our demographic may change, our location may change, but our message will stay the same, and I hope it reaches as many people as it can.