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Celebrating Our Award Winning Posters

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This book was recently published in celebration of the 400 Legacy Year. We are extremely proud that seven posters from our history of productions were chosen for this popular book. Our posters have won regional and national awards and in this book they  share  pages with such companies as The Royal Shakespeare Company, The New York Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare companies from around the world. One full page is devoted to one of our posters. The book is available at bookstores and Amazon.

Garboury Blog

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Garboury | Comments Off on Garboury Blog

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Celebrating Our Award Winning Posters

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in 2016 Season, About, Blog, Featured, News | 0 comments

Celebrating Our Award Winning Posters

Celebrating Our Award Winning Posters Saratoga Shakespeare Company is extremely proud that seven posters from our history of productions were chosen for inclusion in Presenting Shakespeare: 1,100 Posters from Around the World, a book recently published in celebration of the 400 Legacy Year. Our posters have won regional and national awards and in this book they share pages with such companies as The Royal Shakespeare Company, The New York Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare companies from around the world. One full page is devoted to one of our posters. The book is available at bookstores and...

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Never Better

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in 2016 Season, About, Blog, Featured | 0 comments

This might have been my favorite day in the sixteen year history of Saratoga Shakespeare and certainly my proudest day as Artistic Director. On Tuesday night we enjoyed a remarkably successful opening of CYRANO in Congress Park. It was both well attended and very well received – the audience loved it! It was a perfect performance on a comfortable Saratoga evening. After the performance we convened at the Putnam Den for an opening night celebration. On Wednesday we began rehearsals for both ROMEO AND JULIET and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. After a fascinating introduction to the production by David Girard (director of R&J and Associate Artistic Director for Engagement), he and Doug Seldin (Fight Director) began staging the production with nine members of our professional acting company. At the same time, in our other studio, Tim Dugan (Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education) began rehearsals with our wonderful intern company. That night, of course, we all returned to the park for another performance of CYRANO. We have never enjoyed so much creative and positive energy at one time! Lary Opitz, Artistic...

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I Did Not Say Macb…

Posted by on Jul 16, 2016 in 2016 Season, Blog, Education, Featured, Garboury, Internships, Much Ado About Nothing, Programming | 0 comments

Blackadder: Oh, incidentally, Baldrick – actors are very superstitious. On no account mention the word ‘Macbeth’ this evening, alright? Baldrick: Why not? Blackadder: It brings them bad luck and it makes them very unhappy. Baldrick: Oh, so you won’t be mentioning it either? Blackadder: No… well, not very often. Blackadder BBC TV show, Season 3, Episode 4 (1987)   Day Two (7-6-16) Had two days off. Monday was just a warmup for the interns and then a full day of work on the company’s first summer production, Cyrano, which I’m not part of. Tuesday was move-in day for setting up the stage in Congress Park. I wasn’t required to be there either, and it’s a good thing. You know how you wish an actor luck by saying, “Break a leg”? I guess I’m too literal. Actually, I didn’t break my leg, but just sprained a knee. I don’t know if that means I’m too committed to this project. Or maybe not committed enough. And I never even said the name of the play that I’ve taught the past several years, Macb… er, the Scottish play. Okay, perhaps once or twice. It might be different saying the name of the play in the classroom, but ask any actor and they’ll warn you not to say it in the theater. I’ll try to heed their warning from now on. (Ouch.) When the cast saw me walk in on crutches today, they of course wondered what happened. They didn’t know it occurred about 10 minutes into our warmup exercises on Day 1. (For the record, a spinning kick is not something I will do again as a warmup without 15 minutes first of pre-warmup.) I hobbled noticeably the remainder of that first session (making me feel really old, even if I am more than twice the age of most of the cast) but I didn’t notice a problem until I had trouble sleeping and getting up to walk in the morning. An UrgentCare visit on the Fourth of July yielded the crutches and an orthopedic visit the next day yielded the diagnosis (medial collateral ligament sprain), some therapeutic exercises and warnings to avoid jumping and side-to-side movement. In other words, avoid most of the physical activity we do to work on movement. Fortunately, our instructors advised me to modify the movements and avoid anything I didn’t think I could do. Speaking of which, I had a sudden realization (re: panic attack) that I have never read the play that we are performing. I’ve read a number of the Bard’s plays, and taught a few of the standards – Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Taming of the Shrew, Othello and of course the Scottish Play – but never the one that I will be performing, Much Ado About Nothing. Hello, old friend Riverside Shakespeare (look for it on any English teacher’s desk or bookshelf). Time to crack your spine once again. Roger Gaboury is a national board certified English teacher from Schenectady High School. He has degrees from Union College and the University of Idaho, and has trained with the Freedom Writers and the Capital District Writing Project. His last performance was in an Intro to Clowning graduation show at Schenectady County Community College.  He will be guest blogging his experiences with our Intern Program...

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All’s Well That Begins Well

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in 2016 Season, Blog, Education, Featured, Garboury, Internships, Much Ado About Nothing, Programming | 0 comments

  “Did you find me in yourself, sir? or were you taught to find me? The search, sir, was profitable; and much fool may you find in you, even to the world’s pleasure and the increase of laughter.” – All’s Well That Ends Well (2.4. 1236-1239) Day One (7-3-16) Zounds! What have I gotten myself into? I find myself in a studio on the second floor of the Bernhard Theater building at Skidmore College and introduced to 13 very talented interns and three great instructors. Who’s got the least experience in the room? Who do you think? I bet I can’t even beat the tables and chairs in that department. (Although I may have a chance against the thermostat.) The credits of this ensemble cast ranges from Shakespearean standards to Neil Simon, Cabaret, and even a Yiddish version of Death of a Salesman. “Anxiety” is the theme of the day for me. It’s been many years since I’ve been the new kid, the stranger in a strange land. And as a teacher, it’s very discomfiting finding myself as the one in the room who knows the least about the subject matter. I don’t even know how to breathe correctly. (For the record, actors breathe in through the mouth, not the nose.) Perhaps this is some karmic payback for all the years that I have confounded my own students with the Index Card Test. In this exercise, which I perform on the first day with a new class, I hand each student as they come in an index card with the lined side down. I then have them write on it the standard information that every teacher seeks on the first day: name, contact information, parents, favorite word, etc. (This past year yielded the word floccinaucinihilipilification, which was a new one on me, but I digress.) After everyone finishes, I ask them how they did. They usually feel confident, but some start to become suspicious. Their forebodings are confirmed when I tell them that the “test” is not about the accuracy of the information provided, but rather which side of the index card they wrote on. At this point, heads dart back and forth checking each other’s cards to see if they did it “right.” By right, I of course mean if they did it like everyone else. Psychologists have proven that people will go along with a group giving the wrong answer even when they know better. The majority always write on the lined side, and at least a few will smack their head when I point out that I handed them out with the blank side up. There is no right or wrong in the Index Card Test. The exercise is designed to make students reflect on why they wrote on the side that they did. When asked, many say it’s because that’s what they were taught to do. And that’s my point. We can’t really learn, or create, or evolve as an individual or as a society if we just follow what everyone else says or does. With this in mind, I find some comfort in beginning as the Beginner in this accomplished SSC group. After all, the Zen philosophy of the Beginner’s Mind says that one should approach every situation as if for the first time,...

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A Nose By Other Names

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in 2016 Season, Blog, Cyrano, Education, Featured, Programming | 0 comments

Saratoga Shakespeare’s upcoming Cyrano might not be the Cyrano de Bergerac you remember. Instead of a traditional translation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play, we’re using a 2011 adaptation created by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner for D.C.’s Folger Shakespeare Theatre. Although hewing close to Rostand’s original, it ramps up the comedy and action, streamlines the plot, and updates the language for a twenty-first century audience. Hollinger and Posner are, of course, far from the first to put a spin on the classic work. There are Cyrano musicals, operas, and films (most notably from 1950 with Jose Ferrer and 1990 with Gérard Depardieu), not to mention plenty of other versions created for the stage. Even in more distant guises, however, variations on Cyrano are all around us. The fundamentals of the story are well known: in seventeenth century France, the brilliant but large-nosed Cyrano de Bergerac helps the handsome but dim-witted Christian woo the beautiful Roxane, who they both love, by writing gorgeous love letters purportedly from Christian. In the most famous scene, Roxane stands on a balcony rapturously receiving Christian’s words of love; little does she know that those words are being fed to him by Cyrano, standing just out of sight. These plot elements and tropes are constantly appearing in movies and TV shows, novels and cartoons, even video games. Some of those works, films in particular, have taken the entire plot as inspiration, altering the story and placing it in new contexts to create Cyranos for their own time: Love Letters (1945) The first major movie inspired by Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac was technically an adaptation of a different work: the 1944 novel Pity My Simplicity by Christopher Massie. The author hired to pen the film, however, declared the book a “holy mess,” and combined it with a piece of literature she admired far more: Cyrano. Actually, that screenwriter, one Ayn Rand (yes, that Ayn Rand) would later say that the “top three plays are: Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano de Bergerac and Cyrano de Bergerac. It is without a doubt the greatest play in world literature.” Combining romantic drama and psychological mystery, the film’s central characters are a WWII soldier who, like Cyrano, writes letters for his boorish friend, and the girl back home, who he has never met but who falls in love with those letters. Despite dramatic twists and turns involving amnesia and murder, the two, unlike Cyrano and Roxane, ultimately get a happy ending. So did the film itself: starring popular duo Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotton, it was a commercial success, nominated for four Academy Awards and providing the melody for the hit song “Love Letters.” Roxanne (1987) The Steve Martin classic is perhaps the most popular cinematic retelling of Cyrano. Martin, like Rand, was a lifelong fan of the play and particularly of the 1950 Ferrer film: “I remember just thinking it was the greatest thing I ever saw. I think it’s because the character is so strong. He’s like a very smart version of what, coincidentally, is popular in movies today. He’s smarter than everybody else, quicker than everybody else, wittier than everybody else and tops everybody.” After deciding to adapt the story himself, Martin proceeded with two major changes. First, he modernized and Americanized the story, trading 1640s Paris for a 1980s Washington state ski town and Cyrano’s Gascony Guard...

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A Mid-Life Summer’s Dream

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in 2016 Season, Education, Featured, Garboury, Internships | 0 comments

by Guest Blogger, Roger Gaboury, Schenectady High School Teacher “I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream.” –A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 4.1.204-205 When I decided on a career switch from newspaper reporting to a teaching many years ago, I knew I needed to shift my professional perspective. How would I change the semi-anonymous introvert behind the notepad into a “sage on the stage”? So as I waited to begin my college studies to become a teacher, I figured the best course of action was to work as a guide on a haunted hayride and to study clowning. I could think of no better training for controlling an unpredictable group and developing a fearlessness about making mistakes. Now I’m 17 years into my teaching career. I’ve taught several different high school English courses, earned national certification, even taught a graduate college class. Yet still I find the need for new challenges to keep energizing myself and my teaching, and to refine my focus and perspective. This year may be my greatest challenge yet, as I work as an intern for the Saratoga Shakespeare Company. This opportunity began last summer. After watching SSC’s latest offering, Love’s Labour’s Lost, I thought how great it would be to join them on stage. It’s always been somewhat of a dream of mine to be an actor, although I have no real experience. (Unless you count a junior high production of Donald Payton’s The Boarding House Reach. I played the protagonist’s father, Mr. Maxwell.) I approached SSC directors Barbara and Lary Opitz and Tim Dugan after the show about the possibility of them taking on a teacher intern. Already they train a number of college students each year in the on-stage and behind-the-scenes workings of a professional Shakespearean production. Why not do the same for a local teacher? Someone who teaches Shakespeare, but doesn’t specifically teach or work in theater? Someone like me. (Okay, actually me.) What could be more natural than putting a teacher on a stage? Already, I “perform” in front of 125 students a day. I do about five 50-minute sets of “standup” (as in I rarely get a chance to sit) each day, five days a week, 40 weeks a year. And they said yes! It was only then, with my dream about to become reality, that I realized (gulp!) that the thought of being on stage outside the classroom makes me as anxious as a bookworm asking the head cheerleader to the prom. (Something else I never did. Although I did play a good bookworm in high school.) But it is this very anxiety that shows me I must do this. I tell my students all the time to dream big and to work to fulfill their dreams. Now, after reaching my half-century mark, I figure it’s high time to practice what I teach. And so, for five weeks this summer I will be a teacher intern in the Saratoga Shakespeare Company. What does that mean? That means that I will be training daily with an ensemble of 13 college interns to learn the ropes of staging and performing a Shakespearean production. That means I will be taking the same classes learning about voice, movement, and other components of the theater. And that means that I...

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Romeo & Juliet

Posted by on Jul 10, 2016 in 2016 Season, Featured, News, Romeo and Juliet | Comments Off on Romeo & Juliet

♥ Get Directions to our Events and find Parking.♥ Saratoga Shakespeare Company will be presenting a limited run of the Bard’s timeless tale of star crossed lovers in a uniquely theatrical way. In some of the most romantic language ever written for the stage, young Romeo and Juliet become fortune’s fools when the ancient grudge between their families forces them to sacrifice all for the chance to be together. Associate Artistic Director David Girard directs this classic tale of star-cross’d lovers caught between the world outside the bedroom window and passion as boundless as the sea. As played by a motley troupe of 9 actors, this fresh take on Romeo & Juliet will allow the actors to interact with the audience in a totally new way, take on more than one character and create multiple layers of interpretation. Director David Girard spins the text in a deliciously innovative way, redistributing lines and reinterpreting age old characters while never undermining the heart and history of the matter. The staging will be inventive and clever as the company will use Congress Park in unexpected ways. All ages are welcome. Romeo & Juliet will be performed without an intermission  Rain at showtime cancels performance Get Directions to our Events and find...

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2016 Season

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in 2016 Season, Blog, Cyrano, Featured, Much Ado About Nothing, News, Programming, Romeo and Juliet | 0 comments

2016 Season

SUMMER 2016 SEASON: JULY 19 – AUGUST 7, 2016 Saratoga Shakespeare is thrilled to announce its expanded 2016 season with THREE beautiful plays about love including our first non-Shakespeare, classical play! ♥ Get Directions to our Events and find Parking.♥ CYRANO Tuesday, July 19 – Saturday, July 30 Alfred Z. Solomon Stage, Congress Park By Edmond Rostand Translated by Michael Hollinger Adapted by  Michael Hollinger  and Aaron Posner Directed by William Finlay  MORE INFO ROMEO & JULIET Tuesday, August 2 – Sunday, August 7 Alfred Z. Solomon Stage, Congress Park By William Shakespeare Directed by David Girard Performed by 9 ACTORS  MORE INFO MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING  Wednesday, August 3 & Saturday, August 6 By William Shakespeare Directed by Tim Dugan Performed by our Apprentice & Intern Company Wednesday, August 3rd @ 12:30pm,  Skidmore College Saturday, August 6th @ 2pm, Congress Park  MORE INFO Please mark your calendars now so that you can join us for our expanded three-week season in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs. Get Directions to our Events and find...

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Shipwrecked! and Comedy of Errors are featured in the Daily Gazette…

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in 2015 Season, Blog, Comedy of Errors, Featured, News, Programming, Shipwrecked, Skidmore | 0 comments

Shakespeare productions on outdoor and indoor stages By Bill Buell The Bard at Skidmore When David Girard looks back at Saratoga Shakespeare’s 2015 season he’ll remember it being a very light-hearted and jovial summer experience. “Last year we did ‘MacBeth,’ and it seemed like there was so much fighting going on,” said Girard, a Stillwater native who has worked with Saratoga Shakespeare for the past six years and is now the associate artistic director. “Everyone was working on their fight choreography. There were swords everywhere.” This year, the prop department only had to worry about one sword for all three of the troupe’s productions, “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “A Comedy of Errors” and “Shipwrecked!” The real challenge this year is that cast and crew, with “Love’s Labour’s Lost” closing out its run on Sunday in Congress Park, had to head to two new venues to put on two more shows. “Shipwrecked!” is being staged at Skidmore College’s Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater’s Blackbox Theater through Sunday, and “A Comedy of Errors” will be presented at Skidmore’s Suzanne Corbet Thomas Amphitheater today through Saturday...

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