Everyone knows the work of William Shakespeare. We’ve all picked up Romeo and Juliet in high school English classes or have had zealous debates with friends about which of his plays are best. The truth is we love Shakespearean theatre; although his literature is over 400 years old we still connect with his work as if it was written just for us, even if his language was a little funky. The openness of his plays inspires many theatre fans to form incredible acting troupes that perform all over their counties with one idea, “modern Shakespeare is in!” These thespians go the extra mile when it comes to making Shakespeare modern, often they center the plot around problems that affect our environment or society everyday that need attention.
One of the groups that takes Shakespeare to a whole new level is LawnChair Theatre based in Port Chester, New York. They have triumphed some of Elizabethan playwright’s shows from Taming of the Shrew to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and are currently working on The Tempest. LawnChair has decided to add an environmentally conscious message to The Tempest by focusing the plot on litter and harmful wastes that are problematic for animals in our oceans.
Another band of actors that have taken up the Shakespearean mission are the National Players based in Olney, Maryland. They are the longest running touring company in America and have performed wonderful shows to millions of people over the years. The National Players bring Shakespeare’s work to life in the modern world by holding community activities such as dynamic teaching sessions to aspiring actors, prison outreach productions, and storytelling workshops in senior living facilities and schools.
LawnChair and the National Players’ performances have old jokes that are still funny and stimulating monologues that will motivate audiences to help their cause. The ideas that theatre should entertain yet educate are upheld through their grace and hard work. They are on the track to use Shakespeare to bring people together everywhere they go.
Everyone in the “Modern Shakespeare is in Movement” are theatre enthusiasts who voluntarily set up, direct, and act because they love the art itself and want to spark a change in their area. Whether they hold performances outside in a community park or inside your local library, contemporary Shakespeare is passionately done with awe inspiring spirit.
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