Naked Shakespeare Launches New Series of Monthly Wine Bar Shows, 4/14 & 5/12
Naked Shakespeare, Acorn Productions' acting company dedicated to presenting the works of the Bard in non-traditional venues without sets, lights, and costumes, resumes its monthly series of free performances of scenes and soliloquies in April. The company has not had a venue for these popular monthly collections of pieces from the Bard's canon since the old Wine Bar on Wharf Street closed about a year ago. These shows also feature the return of Artistic Director Michael Levine from a brief sabbatical as he directs and peforms in the April show. The May performance consists of an abridgement of the Acorn Shakespeare Conservatory's production of Hamletdirected by Michael Howard and featuring Karen Ball in the title role. In the company's tradition, both shows present the text in an accessible manner that enourages the audience to place the characters in a modern context in order to better understand the universal themes at work in the language. Performances take place on April 14 and May 12 at 7:30pm, and are offered free of charge with an $8 suggested donation. Please visit Naked Shakepeare's website for more information: www.nakedshakespeare.org or call the Acorn office at 854-0065. A complete calendar listing appears below.
April's performance, entitled "Will's Thrills" showcases a cast of veteran Naked Shakespeare actors under the direction of Michael Levine. Selections include such well-known speeches as Juliet's "Gallop apace you fiery footed steeds" and Richard III's "Now is the winter of our discontent," as well as many other pieces from the company's repertoire. The evening promises a trip down memory lane for audience members familiar with Naked Shakespeare, and a great introduction to the company's unique performance style for those who have not yet attended one of the company's shows. May's presentation will offer audiences a sneak peek at the Acorn Shakespeare Conservatory'sHamlet, to be performed from May 30 to June 14 at two different venues in Greater Portland. The show's cast mixes students in Acorn's Shakespeare training program with seasoned actors from the Naked Shakespeare troupe. During both shows, actors will mingle in and around the audience, delivering sonnets and soliloquies conversationally to one another and the audience in unexpected ways that will allow listeners to find new meaning in the text.
For five years, Naked Shakespeare presented monthly "Sonnets and Soliloquies" performances on the first Monday of the month at the Wine Bar on Wharf Street in Portland's Old Port. Since the Wine Bar unexpectedly closed on April 1, 2013, Naked Shakespeare has presented occasional shows throughout Greater Portland, including the company's recent critically acclaimed collaboration with the Oratorio Chorale, but has not been able to find a downtown Portland venue in which to continue the monthly series until this time. Along with the resumption of monthly shows, Naked Shakespeare plans to launch a new workshop series for professional actors in downtown Portland beginning this fall, as well as moving their performance series to the First Friday Art Walk. More details of these plans should be available at the April 14 Slainte show.
Since 2004, Acorn has worked with an ensemble of actors to explore the work of William Shakespeare in a series of live performances entitled Naked Shakespeare, so named because the word of the world's greatest playwright is presented without production elements in order to allow the images to live more fully in the imagination of the audience. Over the past 10 years, Naked Shakespeare has presented full plays, scene nights, and collections of speeches at a variety of locations, including the St. Lawrence Arts Center, the Wine Bar on Wharf Street, Riverbank Park in Westbrook, the Portland Museum of Art, One Longfellow Square, SPACE Gallery, Battery Steele on Peaks Island, and the Portland Company Complex. Naked Shakespeare is presented by Acorn Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit company dedicated to nurturing and developing the performing arts in the Greater Portland community.