Posts Tagged ‘Livermore Shakespeare Festival’

Persuasion Insights from the Playwright

Persuasion at Livermore Shakes starts July 7th

jennifer-with-skirt-over-her-head

Jennifer Le Blanc as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, LSF 2014. Costume by Barbara Murray. Directed by Lisa A. Tromovitch. Photo by Gregg Le Blanc, CumulusLight.com

BY JENNIFER LE BLANC

Hi! I’m Jennifer Le Blanc, I adapted Jane Austen’s novel, Persuasion, for the stage. I’m so excited that Livermore Shakespeare Festival will be producing it this summer with Mary Ann Rodgers directing.

My absolute favorite passage from Persuasion, is the letter. If you’re familiar with the book, you know exactly the swoon-worthy letter I mean. A soul-piercingly good missive. If you’re not familiar with the novel – Hooray, welcome to Persuasion! And don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil the best part for you.

Instead let’s take a peek at another brilliant moment. Our heroine, Anne Elliot, and her friend, Captain Harville, are having a heartfelt conversation about who loves more strongly, men or women. Captain Harville argues that there is a correlation between men’s physical strength and their emotional strength; so since men are stronger than women, their emotions must be stronger, too. Anne, who has experienced considerable romantic disappointment, feels that women love more tenderly than men.

Captain Harville brings up literature as evidence:

“But let me observe that all histories are against you- all stories, prose and verse. If I had such a memory as Benwick, I could bring you fifty quotations in a moment on my side of the argument, and I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say on woman’s inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman’s fickleness. But perhaps you will say they were all written by men.” (p. 216 in Collins Classics edition of Persuasion)

Lindsey Marie Schmeltzer and Ryan Tasker in Sense and Sensibility, directed by Jennifer Le Blanc for LSF 2015. Costumes by Callie Floor. Photo by Gregg Le Blanc, CumulusLight.com.

Lindsey Marie Schmeltzer and Ryan Tasker in Sense and Sensibility, directed by Jennifer Le Blanc for LSF 2015. Costumes by Callie Floor. Photo by Gregg Le Blanc, CumulusLight.com.

To which Anne replies:

“Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.” (p.216)

In the 21st century we are seeing the need to celebrate all sorts of diverse voices in our story-telling, just as Austen recognized the need for women’s voices in the 19th century. It’s so exciting to me that her response was to pick up a pen. And how lucky for us that she did! We get to enjoy her satire, her romance, and her philosophy. I love her wit and wisdom as she illuminates the strength, nobility, foibles, snobbery, and passions of humanity- all delivered with a healthy dose of humor. And I hope you enjoy it, too!

Let’s Celebrate

How to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of a raunchy British icon…Livermore Shakes style…

So by now we all know that 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s legacy, right? Yes, we are kind of celebrating the milestone of his death, but not really. The world over is celebrating the fact that 400 years AFTER this man died and stopped producing work…we are STILL producing that work and speaking his words and deriving much of our modern stories from his plots (hello, Lion King and House of Cards).

Well, “that is pretty cool” you might say and then you might say ”yeah, I want to celebrate that, but is there a way I can celebrate that AND drink beer” and to that we say…”why yes…you can”.  Hence ShakesBEER. We offer up a few ways to get your ShakesBEER on:


Scenario 1: THE HARDCORE SHAKESPEARE FANATIC

  • ShakesBeer_DS_Half_WillyFirst binge watch (or RE-binge watch) PBS’s series “Shakespeare Uncovered
  • Then find your nerdiest Shakespeare loving friend and go to First Street Ale House. Order a locally brewed beer on tap (maybe an Eight Bridges brew???) and discuss the theme of misogynistic repressed war heroes in Shakespeare’s comedies. Then go home and read the whole canon.
  • Next, show up at Eight Bridges Brewing on April 23rd. Drink a Nottingham Brown and laugh and laugh over our fabulous original production of “Drunken Shakespeare” at 2 and 5PM.  Support the future of a new generation of Shakespeare geeks as a portion of the proceeds benefit our in-school programming.

Scenario 2: THE FAMILY OUTING

  • Grab a copy of one of Lois Burdett’s “Shakespeare Can Be Fun” books. Read it with your kids.
  • Then, go to First Street Ale House and have dinner with your kids….be sure to order the fried pickles. They are the best!
  • Go home and hop onto Shakespeare’s Globe website to the “Playground” page and play some of the Globe’s brilliant Shakespeare themed video games for kids!
  • Stop by Eight Bridges Brewing on April 23rd…catch our production of Drunken Shakespeare and order food and beer so that proceeds can benefit our education program in the Livermore 2nd grade classrooms!

Scenario 3: SHAKESPEARE WHO? I LOVE BEER.

  • Just show up at Eight Bridges Brewing on April 23rd. Order a Hoppy Annihilation – Double IPA, maybe watch Drunken Shakespeare…maybe don’t.
  • Support a literacy program in our Livermore elementary schools by just doing what you already like to do.
  • Drink more beer.
  • UBER home.

THANK YOU TO FIRST STREET ALE HOUSE FOR SPONSORING SHAKESBEER!

Livermore Shakespeare Festival Blog

June 15, 2012

Traveling Players


By Peggy Riley
Dramaturge

 
 
The tradition of traveling players is almost as old as theater itself, encompassing performers from the pageant wagons of Medieval Europe to the roving bands and Commedia troupes of Renaissance Italy to the road shows and touring companies of our own time.  And now the traveling players come to Livermore Shakespeare Festival 2012: A troupe arrives at Concannon Vineyard to perform in Hamlet’s play-within-a-play, The Murder of Gonzago; while they’re here, the players present The Merry Wives in the vineyards outside the town surrounding the castle (in our case, the grand Ellen Roe Concannon house).