Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mark Oram: Romeo and Juliet 2015

Written by Romeo and Juliet cast member and Grassroots Shakespeare Company All-Star, Mark Oram:





My favorite part of the Grassroots process is the collaborative, actor-led rehearsals. Rather than looking to a sole director to guide the play, we work together as an equally-invested group of actors to bring out the most in each moment. When it works, it is an invigorating experience. Nobody is sitting off to the side of the rehearsal room just waiting for their cue. Everyone is completely engaged in creating the best theatre they can. This is the feeling that inspired the creation of the Grassroots Shakespeare Company, and it’s the same feeling that keeps me coming back for more!

As I’ve reviewed the part of Lord Capulet for this production, I’ve noticed even more examples of his extreme changeableness. It seems that Shakespeare either couldn’t settle on the character’s function within the story, or (more likely) that his function is to illustrate the source of Juliet’s capriciousness.  If Capulet were a more steady, predictable, level-headed individual, perhaps this story would end happily.  But people are not always surrounded by the influences they need, and Juliet’s behavior seems to indicate that she has inherited at least some of her father’s impulsiveness.





Mark will be playing Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. 


More about Mark Oram:


Mark Oram is an English, Theatre, and Shakespeare teacher at Corner Canyon High School and Co-Founder of the Grassroots Shakespeare Company. He has an MFA in Staging Shakespeare from the University of Exeter, where he studied voice, movement, text, and directing at the Globe Theatre. Mark has performed with the Seattle Shakespeare Company, Sundance Summer Theatre, BYU Young Company Shakespeare Troupe, Hale Center Theatre Orem, and Grassroots Shakespeare London.



Our Valentines Day production of Romeo and Juliet will have a very limited run from Feb 13th-14th at the Ladies Literary Club (850 E South Temple) in Salt Lake City. 

Get your tickets now HERE

Monday, February 9, 2015

Davey Morrison Dillard: Romeo and Juliet 2015

Written by Romeo and Juliet cast member and Grassroots Shakespeare Company All-Star, Davey Morrison Dillard:





Shakespeare's company didn't seem to have much of a formal rehearsal process. They didn't seem to need it. 

Sources indicate that, at least in some cases, the only rehearsals for the entire company were to block fights and jigs--the most choreographed and cast-heavy scenes in the plays. Other scenes may have been worked out one-on-one between scene partners, if at all. It's difficult for most actors to imagine performing a show with such a potentially limited rehearsal period, but, when you might be debuting a new show every night, it would have been necessary. And, as a repertory company, Shakespeare's actors would have developed a number of tools to enable this sort of process.

As members of a repertory company, the members of the King's Men probably saw each other every day. Shakespeare himself reworked familiar characters and relationships and variations on similar scenes throughout much of his work, so that, for example, William Kempe could take much of what he used as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and easily adapt it for Dogberry's scenes in Much Ado About Nothing just a few years later. Indeed, for decades the performances in these plays were passed down from one generation to the next, from masters to their apprentices, down to very specific movements and gestures.





While not strictly a repertory company, The Grassroots Shakespeare Company has maintained a number of familiar faces of the last several years, and, like Shakespeare, we have stuck with a strict policy of typecasting. Grassroots regulars have learned whether they are better suited to heroes or to villains, to clowns or to kings, and, in the process, we have also developed a kind of shorthand for staging. Putting an arm around a character and leading them down to the front of the stage suggests a secret. Certain lazzis (or stock gags) become familiar and easy to block. A challenge looks a certain way, while a surrender looks different. Raising your arms to the crowd encourages their applause. That sort of thing. Armed with these sorts of tools, rehearsing a play in twelve hours over the course of three days, as we are doing with Romeo & Juliet this year, is still a daunting task, but not at all an impossible one--it becomes an invigorating challenge.





At the time of this writing, two weeks before our show will have closed, we have not yet started to rehearse. We have not had a reading of the script--we have never even officially met as a company. I've never played this role, I'm still figuring out my character, I'm still working on solidifying my lines, and I'm brainstorming ideas for my costume. But there's one thing standing between me and abject terror, and that's the trust I've developed working with these company members over the past several years. These are some of the best actors, some of the most brilliant minds, and some of the kindest, funniest, smartest, most giving people I know, and I'd trust each of them with my life. In two weeks, we'll all be getting up on a stage together in front of an audience, and it will be that trust that keeps us afloat. A company like this feels like a family, and there's a sense of spontaneity and excitement that comes from discovering a show on its feet. 

Ultimately, none of us is ever ready for anything, on stage or off. "Ready" is a myth. At some point, we just have to jump off the cliff.

I'm grateful to the members of this company for teaching me to take the plunge.





Davey will be playing Paris in Romeo and Juliet. 


More about Davey Morrison Dillard:


Davey Morrison Dillard has been with Grassroots since its very first show in 2009. Since then, Davey has performed in ten different Grassroots productions, playing Richard III, Katherina Minola, Dogberry, Polonius, Touchstone, Feste, and Hermia (among others). Film credits include Alexis Thrill (WELCOME TO THE RUBBER ROOM), The Eel (MYTHICA), and The Writer (EUGENIE). When he's not acting, Davey is probably writing something, directing something, watching a movie, or sleeping.




Our Valentines Day production of Romeo and Juliet will have a very limited run from Feb 13th-14th at the Ladies Literary Club (850 E South Temple) in Salt Lake City. 

Get your tickets now HERE

Daniel Fenton Anderson: Romeo and Juliet 2015

Written by Romeo and Juliet cast member and Grassroots Shakespeare Company All-Star, Daniel Fenton Anderson:





This year has been a great year for Grassroots. We've got a lot of great things coming for the next season, we've officially become a 501 (c) (3) non-profit company, and we've started expansion on our set (more to come on that). With all the great momentum our company has going, I'm so excited that we're working on Romeo & Juliet again for this Valentine's weekend. It was one of our first shows and is a great reminder that no matter what happens, at our core we are dedicated to the same experiment that we were engaged in the first time we told the story of these star-crossed lovers: exploring and recreating Shakespeare's plays in an authentic style. 



One of the aspects of this style that I love is how quick our shows pull together. This show will have less than a week before we have an audience--much like Shakespeare's plays would have been rehearsed. Even the story of this play is wound tight under the looming face of time. The whole events of Romeo & Juliet take place in a total of five days. Five days! That's nothing! And that's what I find so exciting. We put these shows together under such a tight deadline, with such minimal resources, and yet we strive to do it with such passion and desire to share that passion with others. Each of these shows is a gargantuan labour of love, and I can't wait to share what I love with people this Valentine's Day. 







Daniel will be playing the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. 


More about Daniel Fenton Anderson:





Daniel Fenton Anderson is currently a student at UVU and is a founding member of The Grassroots Shakespeare Company. Some of his favorite past roles include: Prospero in The Tempest, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Pedro in The Man of La Mancha and Pap in Big RiverFind Daniel online at www.danielfentonanderson.com




Our Valentines Day production of Romeo and Juliet will have a very limited run from Feb 13th-14th at the Ladies Literary Club (850 E South Temple) in Salt Lake City. 

Get your tickets now HERE

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Aubrey Wilde: Romeo and Juliet 2015

Written by Romeo and Juliet cast member and Grassroots Shakespeare Company All-Star, Aubrey Wilde:




I have loved working with Grassroots on and off the stage. This is my first time back on stage in 3 years, so I’m a bit nervous. But reuniting with my old friend, Juliet, is really fun. You will only get to play your dream roles a few times, so cherish them while you can. 




I love the Grassroots process, and we are truly a family because of it! The collaboration that goes into every project is amazing, and it gives our shows a different feel than others. Everyone has an equal say in the product we show you, and every insight and idea helps us reach our end goal. I love the fact that we return to the text and see what is really going on rather than apply modern concepts. This tale is timeless, and that’s how we intend to tell it. I have loved going back to Juliet and finding new meanings and insights after three years of life experience and study. 




Aubrey will be playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet


More about Aubrey Wilde:



This is Aubrey’s first show back with The Grassroots Shakespeare Co since Hamlet, Halloween 2012. During this time, she has worked administratively with GSC and is finishing up her BA in Theatre Performance at UVU. Some of her favorite UVU roles have been Eurydice in Eurydice, and Bianca in Taming of the Shrew.  Favorite Grassroots roles include Juliet, Ophelia, and Viola. 

"I'm excited to walk down memory lane with Juliet once again and get back on the GSC stage!"





Our Valentines Day production of Romeo and Juliet will have a very limited run from Feb 13th-14th at the Ladies Literary Club (850 E South Temple) in Salt Lake City. 

Get your tickets now HERE

Monday, February 2, 2015

Alex Ungerman: Romeo and Juliet 2015

Written by Romeo and Juliet cast member and Grassroots Shakespeare Company All-Star, Alex Ungerman:





TWO QUESTIONS WITH ALEX UNGERMAN

What’s your favorite part of the Grassroots rehearsal process?

We frequently receive criticism that our shows “could use a director,” but one of my favorite things about creating with Grassroots is the liveliness and vitality that emerge in the absence of a singular vision.
 When we’ve got a good cast of people who are confident in their art and are willing to really dig in and play, that’s when the magic happens. Seeing the myriad of ideas and perspectives that pour out in rapid-fire succession during a Grassroots rehearsal is a masterclass in directorial approaches. So, even though we don’t have a director for our shows, I feel I’ve learned more about effective directing––about what does and doesn’t work––from participating in our shows than anywhere else.




How are you approaching the role of the Prince in this production?

Even though the Prince appears only briefly, his powerful presence reverberates through the story. It’s clear to me that the Prince is one of Shakespeare’s idealized versions of benevolent nobility. The Prince is a good guy––merciful to a fault––but ultimately unable to restrain the violence of his subjects or shield them from the ensuing consequences. I’m approaching his role as peacekeeper in the story as “good cop” and seeing where that sort of imagery will take me.




Alex will be playing The Prince in Romeo and Juliet



More about Alex Ungerman:

Alex Ungerman is co-founder of the Grassroots Shakespeare Company (Utah) and Grassroots Shakespeare Alabama. 'Romeo and Juliet' will be the eleventh Grassroots show he has appeared in. Some of his favorite roles from Shakespeare include: Pericles, Orsino, Benedick, Orlando, and Jacques. Aside from Grassroots, favorite touring experiences include BYU Young Company, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


Our Valentines Day run of Romeo and Juliet will have a very limited run from Feb 13th-14th at the Ladies Literary Club (850 E South Temple) in Salt Lake City. 

Get your tickets now HERE

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Kyle Oram: Romeo and Juliet 2015

Written by Romeo and Juliet cast member and Grassroots Shakespeare Company All-Star, Kyle Oram:




Getting to work with exceptional people has always been a key benefit of Grassroots, but what I've loved most about the process is that applying principles of original practice seems to reveal hidden gems throughout the play. We end up discovering ways in which Shakespeare’s original audiences likely experienced his theater. 




For example, questions posed by characters that may appear rhetorical to the modern reader, seem to have had a direct link instead to the audience. Romeo queries, “Can I go forward when my heart his here?” and later, “Shall I hear more or shall I speak at this?” In the absence of the 19th-century convention of the fourth wall, it seems likely such questions must have elicited a response from the boisterous Elizabethan crowds. Indeed, it is this interplay between player and spectator that has shaped the discoveries and style of our company. 




We aim to please the crowd, embodying the language with clarity and a shared sense of purpose with our audience--to inhabit the theatrical space together and better grasp the wit and heart of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. 




Kyle will be playing Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. 

More about Kyle Oram:

It was the Shakespeare's Globe 2005 production of Pericles in London that sparked Kyle's interest in the rehearsal and performance conditions of the early modern theater. Since then, Kyle has appeared in 14 Grassroots productions and completed an internship at the American Shakespeare Center in Stanton, Virginia. A graduate of the UVU Theatre Arts program, he played in the award-winning Eurydice, Tinney's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (a title he took to heart in his subsequent success as a consultant with Utah's highest rated solar company--SolarTek), and Gilbert and Sullivan's infamous romp, The Mikado.

"This production is flooded with some of the greatest talents I know, so I'll be doing my best to keep up. Enjoy the show!"




Our Valentines Day run of Romeo and Juliet will have a very limited run from Feb 13th-14th at the Ladies Literary Club (850 E South Temple) in Salt Lake City. 

Get your tickets now HERE