Monday May 16th, 2011
7:00 PM- Reading of The Tragedy of King Arthur (Talk back immediately following)
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THEATRE IS EASY declares: "Once again, Guerrilla Shakespeare Project has reminded us why Shakespeare is still worth doing."
NYTHEATRE affirms: “The GSP’s modus operandi is to distill Shakespeare to its most relevant and modern elements….The quality of their production definitely makes it a standout in the field.”
TRAVALANCHE declares: "Don't be a Shakespeare lemming and go watch some Hollywood nitwits act in a slick production of a play you've already seen a half a dozen times. Do yourself a favor. Learn something. Go watch THIS company."
THEATRE IS EASY professes see what: "sets them apart from their indie theatre contemporaries... as a leading off off Broadway theatre company."
DAILY TIMES pronounces: "One would be hard pressed to find acting as natural—and fun—as this….where others have fallen short, their fluid interpretation hits the mark.”
SHOW BUSINESS boasts: “Blessed with oratory and comedic skills, the production remains true to Shakespeare’s language. The actors speak with ease, the prose rolling off their glib tongues.”
Check out the NovelThe Tragedy of Arthur is an emotional and elaborately constructed tour de force from bestselling and critically acclaimed novelist Arthur Phillips, "one of the best writers in America" (The Washington Post).
By turns hilarious and haunting, this virtuosic novel-which includes Shakespeare's (?) lost King Arthur play in its five-act entirety-captures the very essence of romantic and familial love and betrayal.
The Tragedy of Arthur explores the tension between storytelling and truth-telling, the thirst for originality in all our lives, and the act of literary mythmaking, both now and four centuries ago, as the two Arthurs-Arthur the novelist and Arthur the ancient king-play out their individual but strangely intertwined fates.
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Send us money. (Shocking, right?) Seriously. We believe wholeheartedly that the work we (artists and audience) are creating together is not only exhilarating, funny, thought-provoking and heartbreaking, but neccessary. It's the responsibility of each new generation to tackle the great questions anew - with daring, with humor, with generosity and passion - and what better way to do that than through some of the most profound words ever composed? Alas, theatre (and especially New York theatre) is not cheap to produce, and we need your help to continue bringing you classical theatre that is alive in the most exciting ways. $10 helps us. $100 really helps us. $1000 would make us weep with joy and compose sonnets to you.
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Arthur Phillips captures the zeitgeist of both the status of today’s classical theatre and our country’s political discourse. Since Arden Shakespeare published Double Falsehood as an authentic work of Shakespeare , The Guerrilla Shakespeare Project asks, “What makes something Shakespeare?” The Tragedy of King Arthur was created using the same texts and historical materials that The Bard himself referenced; however, The Tragedy of King Arthur is not actually Shakespeare. It’s better. The play contains all of the poetry, wisdom, and eloquence of Shakespeare’s verse, but with the unique addition of a modern sense of theatrical drive and story arc. It offers insight into unconditional love, the depth of human weakness, and the struggles of personal sacrifice, as only William Shakespeare could before.
As a young man, Arthur unexpectedly and unwillingly becomes King of England, inheriting a country perpetually at war. Once he ascends to the throne, he must not only try to bring peace to the land, he must prove his own legitimacy. Is honor a birthright? Does honor make one king? Do bloodlines? Do actions? This is the story of a man coming to terms with who he is and who he is destined to become.
The play is the centerpiece to a new novel (also entitled The Tragedy of King Arthur) by best selling author Arthur Phillips. Released on April 19, 2011, the novel examines the idea of legitimacy, not only in its storyline, but also in the very existence of the play. In today’s world, what makes Shakespeare legitimate Shakespeare?
The Guerrilla Shakespeare Project is critically acclaimed as "a leading off-off Broadway theatre company." The GSP has produced fully realized Shakespearean plays as well as started its 'New Classics' workshop series, which fosters new plays inspired by classical material. The company was born out of collaboration with the Brown University/Trinity Rep graduate theatre program, led then by Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. GSP received rave reviews for its New York debut, JULIUS CAESAR, with a female Caesar . The production was acclaimed as "capturing the zeitgeist" of the 2008 presidential campaign. A taut MEASURE FOR MEASURE followed in the spring of 2009; and in January 2010, THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN was altogether raved and sold out its extended run. In the spring of 2010, GSP followed up with another Shakespeare obscurity, KING JOHN, which hailed a string of glowing reviews and sold out houses. Their most resent production THE TAMING OF THE SHREW continued Guerrilla's long line of success with one reviewer stating "Once again, Guerrilla Shakespeare Project has reminded us why Shakespeare is still worth doing." The company's training and values are rooted in applying refined technical skill to the demands of classical works and inventing new plays that move audiences and the American theatre forward.
Our Mission Statement...
With passion born of rebellion we seek out the heart of the matter, battling against complacency in ourselves, our audience, and the American theatre. We struggle always for a passionate simplicity, for a visceral connection between actor and audience; only through this connection is great theatre possible. This is our cause. This is the revolution. This is Guerrilla Shakespeare.
Brooklyn's Bastard Bard
Arthur Phillips was born in Minneapolis and educated at Harvard. He has been a child actor, a jazz musician, a speechwriter, a dismally failed entrepreneur, and a five-time Jeopardy! champion.
His first novel, Prague, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and receivedThe Los Angeles Times/Art Seidenbaum Award for best first novel. His second novel, The Egyptologist, was an international bestseller, and was on more than a dozen "Best of 2004" lists. Angelica, his third novel, made The Washington Post best fiction of 2007 and led that paper to call him "One of the best writers in America." The Song Is You was a New York Times Notable Book, on the Post's best of 2009 list, and inspired Kirkus to write, "Phillips still looks like the best American novelist to have emerged in the present decade."
His work has been published in twenty-seven languages, and is the source of three films currently in development.
He lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
Talk Back with James Shapiro
There will be a short talk back led by Professor Shapiro following the reading to discuss the play and its relationship to Shakespeare.
He the author of Rival Playwrights: Marlowe, Jonson, Shakespeare (1991), Shakespeare and the Jews (1996), Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World’s Most Famous Passion Play (2000), and 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2005), which was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best non-fiction book published in Britain.
His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the London Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Bookforum, and the Financial Times. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, and The New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
He serves on the Board of Governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library as well as the Advisory Council for the Authors Guild. He also works with a number of theater companies, including Theatre for a New Audience and the Royal Shakespeare Company.