By 2014 Summer Tour cast member Steven Pond:
Shakespeare. Elevated language. High class drama. Theatre for the educated elite.
Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies.
One of the main things I love about how Grassroots does good ol' Willy Shakes' work is that we bring it back to the way it was originally done; not just in terms of structure (no director, no designers, no SM, etc.) or practice (limited rehearsal time, gender blind casting, public performances...), but in purpose. Shakespeare brought entertainment to the common folk. His plays were familiar, relevant, and relatable to his audiences. The language was that of the groundlings - those who paid a penny to stand in the mud at the front of the stage, and the same ones who may lynch you if they didn't like your performance. The play had to be more powerful than the smell of hundreds of unwashed bodies, more enticing than the women trying to earn coin by giving people more reason to wash, and more engaging than the drudgery of serf-dom-ship.
While we have no kings to comment on or plagues to pine about, the stories Shakespeare wrote still resonate with us today. We still fall in love, we still fight for our beliefs, and we still find ourselves in horribly awkward situations with people we may not like very much. Presenting these stories in the way they were written - for the common folk, with the audience as much a character in the play as any actor on stage - provides for a unique theatrical experience that can be had nowhere else.
With performances that grab your heart, emotions, and attention as if our lives depended on it, Grassroots Shakespeare is something you don't want to miss.