The Summer Of Our Discontent: Theater During Covid-19

Trading cards packaged in cigarette boxes in the early 1900s. Imagine a world where you chose your cigarette brand based on your collection of Shakespeare trading cards… Courtesy/ISC

From the International Shakespeare Center Board
Santa Fe

We want to say that we are thinking of you, your family, and all those whose lives have been affected by this pandemic.

Theater has always been a communal activity and we consider you a part of our community. We trust you are staying safe and well.

During these days of isolation, the board of the International Shakespeare Center (ISC) has had to make some distressing decisions.

First and foremost, of course, we hold the health of our actors, volunteers and audience members as our top priority. Even before the state’s stay-at-home order was issued, we sadly suspended the Santa Fe Summer Shakespeare activities until summer 2021.

Next, we chose to postpone the ISC season of Coriolanus and Julius Caesar—first we postponed from May until July, and then, as the stay-at-home order lengthened, we postponed again until October.

But there is a resiliency in our staff, readers, actors, and audience for the love of the language of Shakespeare:

Looking forward to the time they will be physically together again, the casts of Coriolanus and Julius Caesar are engaged in weekly close-reads of both plays with the directors and dramaturg. Each cast will spend six to eight weeks with each title, going in-depth with the text in preparation for their rehearsals and performances.

The Shakespeare reading groups had to abandon our wonderful communal meetings, but recently started a free online close-read and discussion of Love’s Labor’s Lost, led by Robin Williams. If you like Shakespeare’s witty banter, magnificently playful linguistics, and feminist women, this is the play for you. To read and discuss with us, click here to join our Meetup site and get the link.

Ariana Karp, Artistic Director of the ISC, has planned a little celebration for Shakespeare’s birthday today, April 23, to enjoy in your isolation: She compiled clips of our actors and friends speaking a favorite Shakespeare line or couplet. The final composite clip is posted here.

These unpredictable days make it unwise to invite people in to our theater in the near future—not only for ISC productions, but for the other theater groups in Santa Fe who rent our facility. So for the time being, both The Swan and the Shakespeare Reading Room are closed.

From the ISC, thank you for your patience and understanding.

Take care of yourselves.

See you at The Swan,

Robin Williams, President, and all of us at the ISC

The Upstart Crows

The youth troupe that we partner with, the Upstart Crows, are continuing their productions online and have added a few extra ways to enjoy Shakespeare at a safe distance from each other:

“Reputation, reputation, reputation”: Scenes from Othello, meets twice a week online to work on scenes in preparation for the time when we can be in the same room together

Taming of the Shrew close-reading group for Crows of all ages.

Crows Monologue Festival: Actors rehearse one- and two-person scenes to record and post on our YouTube page.

See their website for all the details: UpstartCrowsOfSantaFe.org

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