Un-Scripted’s new show “Shakespeare: The Musical” is open and WOW what an experience it is to not only be back on stage but also to be doing a full-length, completely improvised (i.e. made up on the spot) show in Shakespearian dialect with songs, with costumes and with only 4 actors so we all play multiple roles.
As happens from time to time, last weekend there was an angry patron who didn’t believe we made it up. It always surprises me. From the inside, we know that any pre-scripting or planning takes away from the storytelling magic that can happen if we stay open & present and say YES to each other.
We do rehearse and the point of rehearsing is to have the same set of expectations — in the broadest sense of meaning. We share an idea of what view of the world Shakespeare had and ideas of what settings & situations are congruent with his writings; we share our struggles to learn to correctly use thee, thou, does, doth and so on…and we’ve learned a lot about each other’s imaginations so we can TRUST each other in the moment, so that we can RELAX and PLAY.
I suppose it can be taken as a compliment when someone thinks it is all pre-scripted. But my personal goal and desire is to have the audience be immersed in a way that they experience this as a co-creation. For indeed, it is co-created…from chatting with the audience before the show, to the suggestions at the top, to the reactions of laughter, gasps or dead silence, to just the “feel” of the energy in the theater — all of that shapes the show.
There’s no way to know, but I wonder if the people who don’t believe in spontaneous theater (improv groups experience this often), either don’t have kids or are distanced from their time with little people. My experiences as mama to LP have lead me to believe there is more to be discovered in any moment than I knew possible.
If you’re in the Bay Area, SHAKESPEARE: THE MUSICAL runs most of the month of may (details on Un-Scripted’s homepage). If you want to see a bit of what we do…you can check out our showblog or our YouTube channel.
And if you want to lay some Shakespeare on your kiddo….I often use it when we’re in a playful mood already and cast LP as a lady and myself as her servant (and/or fool!).
Use a little “fast-food” Shakespeare language and see what happens:
Methinks (“I think”)
“Methinks my lady’s diaper is in need of much changing”
“Mayhaps digging in the backyard shouldst be our plan”
As such (“like this”)
“Shall I hold ye upside down as such?”
Aye and nay (yes and no)
“Another vitamin? Aye for you have had but one”
“Another vitamin? Nay not – two have been had so no more until the morrow.”
Tis true (“yes” or general agreement)
“I see before me a picture of orange and green…tis true!”
After a few interactions Shakespearian-style, LP was saying “tis true, tis true, tis true” which very funny.
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