Tuesday, June 23, 2009

spread the grassroots, spread the love!

The following article was printed in the UVU Review on Monday, June 22nd. It appears here without permission, so if it gets taken down, that's why. Enjoy!

The Bard is Back
New Shakespearean company
uses old techniques
to make the story new

Culture Writer

The newly-founded Grassroots Shakespeare Company is a rare treasure of Utah Valley theater. Created and peopled by local college students, Grassroots uses the techniques that acting companies used in Shakespeare's day to create plays that are "fast-paced, funny, intriguing, and simple," according to grassrootsshakespeare.blogspot.com.

Grassroots is currently performing Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare's most loved comedies. All performances are outdoors in natural light. Check the sidebar for dates and times.

Utah Shakespeare fans have seen the bard's plays at the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, and among several traditional theater venues in Utah Valley. However, the Grassroots' production of Much Ado About Nothing is the most enjoyable Shakespeare production Utah theatergoers have had the chance to see in at least the last five years.

The actors are unapologetic. Generally, performing without a stage, so close to the audience, and with makeshift costumes and sets is too embarrassing for actors to handle. This embarrassment often comes across as a continual, agonizing apology to the audience for subjecting them to the performance. However, this particular group of young actors have chosen to perform under these conditions, and the jury-rigged, ad hoc design features serve the story surprisingly well.

The play has been shortened to run at a little over an hour. Despite the amputated script, the plot comes across with startling clarity. This simple coherence is thanks to the actors' denial of several theatrical traditions, specifically their rejection of a "fourth wall" between the stage and the audience. Here, the story is told to audience members, rather than at them, as plays that take themselves more seriously are wont to do.

Shakespeare's plays have in general become over-intellectualized and haughty. However, they were originally written to be enjoyed by all classes of society - from the poor and uneducated to Queen Elizabeth. The Grassroots Shakespeare Company has brought Shakespeare back to the common man - you don't have to ge an English major or an intellectual prick to understand and enjoy this story.

To read more reviews, or to write your own, check out the "Reviews" tab on our Facebook fan page!

1 comment:

  1. What?! No fourth wall? This is singular.

    Congratz on the success of the first go. I am very glad to see that you are bringing more performances.