Naked Shakespeare, Acorn Productions' Acting Company dedicated to presenting the works of the Bard in non-traditional venues without sets, lights, and costumes, has decided to offer another edition of its monthly shows at the Wine Bar on Wharf Street in March. "The Apprentice Showcase" features short selections of text performed by first-year students in the new Acorn Shakespeare Conservatory, which began training work last fall.
Naked Shakespeare's Wine Bar performances provide audience members a relaxed and comfortable environment in which to enjoy Shakespeare's language and imagery presented in a format that makes the words themselves the center of attention. Sonnets and speeches are cued by audience members through the use of index cards with lines of contemporary dialogue written on them, lines that provide a humorous and insightful modern context for each piece. All the scenes in the performance have been staged to be taking place in the Wine Bar itself, providing the characters with a modern sensiblity that makes the text more accessible.
The performance is free with a $5 suggested donation. Visit Acorn's website for more information: www.acorn-productions.org or call the Acorn office at 854-0065. A complete calendar listing appears below.
"The Apprentice Showcase" features selections from some of Shakespeare's best-known works, along with many of his most memorable characters. There is no theme running through the evening, which contains a hour-long collection of pieces that best showcase the work of the twelve apprentices currently studying with Naked Shakespeare co-directors Karen Ball, Michael Howard and Michael Levine. Selections include scenes from "Julius Caesar," "King John," "King Henry VI, part three," Measure for Measure," "Othello," and "Two Gentlemen of Verona," along with speeches from Gertrude, Hamlet, Joan la Pucelle, Richard II and many others. During the show, 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. Last spring the company discountinued these performances in order to focus on launching the Acorn Shakespeare Conservatory, a new educational program dedicated to training actors to work with Shakespeare's text in performance. After meeting weekly through the fall and winter, the company has fine-tuned its work and is ready once again to offer audiences the chance to enjoy selections from the Bard's canon offered in the casual and intimate atmosphere of the Wine Bar, where patrons may dine and drink as they enjoy some of the finest poetry from Shakespeare's plays. The company plans to continue these monthly performances, of which last month's "Will You Be Mine?" through June of 2013.
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 8 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. The company operates from studios in Westbrook's Dana Warp Mill, where it offers acting classes for children and adults, as well as small-scale performances in the Acorn Studio Theater. Other well-known programs produced by Acorn include the Maine Playwrights Festival and the Naked Shakespeare series. Acorn is currently also celebrating its fifteenth year of presenting live theater in Portland.