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Center Stage Theatre to Perform All 37 of William Shakespeare's Plays

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Center Stage Theatre to Perform All 37 of William Shakespeare's Plays

History may soon depict 2020 as one of the worst years for modern generations with a Spring of self-isolation, a Summer of socially distanced gatherings, and the remainder of the year soiled in canceled events and postponed gatherings. But for Shakespeare fans, Midland Center for the Arts wants to ensure you are given the ultimate marathon for your viewing pleasure - and not of your favorite HGTV television series or the Season 3 re-runs of Keeping Up with the Kardashians - they are presenting each and every one of The Bard's works with a new cast of actors each week through the end of the calendar year.

William Shakespeare, a prolific playwright who also had his theatre closed by the plague, wrote 37 plays that survive today, which fall into three categories which are described as comedies, tragedies and histories. The most frequently produced playwright in history, Shakespeare's breathtaking poetry and complex characters have given us some of the biggest blockbusters of the past four centuries- including Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet.

While Shakespeare is commonly viewed as being dense and difficult to understand by todays audiences, it is still in modern English, and in the hands of a capable actor, the words can leap off the page and vividly come to life.

"Shakespeare is for everybody. I think it's a shame that many folks read Romeo and Juliet in high school, get discouraged, and never come back to it. Plays aren't meant to be read, they're meant to be seen and heard," said Dexter Brigham, Midland Center for the Arts Director of Theatre Programs.

As the Center for the Arts moved to offering virtual programming in the spring due to COVID-19, Center Stage Theatre launched Shakespeare & Chill LIVE, a weekly virtual event on Friday evenings. "When we saw all of our performance opportunities disappear due the pandemic, I wanted to continue to bring us together, safely, to gather and participate in the art form we live and breathe for," said Brigham.

Although each performance is conducted virtually via Zoom and broadcast on Facebook Live, Center Stage Theatre has developed custom virtual backgrounds and faithfully executes all of the battles, murders and duels by lunging forward and backward or right and left with virtual stage combat. Exploring the limits and advantages of the virtual medium is a big part of the fun for both actors and the audience

The weekly performance, which is presented on Midland Center's Facebook Page at 9 p.m. each Friday evening, just finished its 16th performance with Henry VI: Part 3. To learn about the upcoming performances, please visit midlandcenter.org/VirtualEvents.


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