It’s almost time for tickets!

We’ve been hard at work putting a brand new system in place that will make your experience of buying HVSF tickets faster and easier. On Wednesday, March 15, you’ll get the chance to try it out when tickets go on sale to the public!

Follow these steps to make sure you’re ready for the big day:

STEP 1 >> Click here to reset your password (or create a new account).

STEP 2 >> Use the email address with which you most often purchase tickets to fill out the Forgot Password form, and click the button EMAIL PASSWORD LINK TO ME.

STEP 3 >> Check your email and click on the link provided to set your new password.

STEP 4 >> Click CONTINUE and you’re all set! You will automatically be logged in.

What’s next?
You will hear from us again on Wednesday, March 15th, alerting you when HVSF tickets are available online. So long as you are logged in, you will have full access to your account, mail/email preferences, offers, and more.

What’s the best part?
Once logged in, you should remain logged in (think Amazon, but for the effervescent, outdoor theater you love). Still, it’s a good idea to make a note of your password – just in case.

What if I want to change my email address or personal information?
No problem – you can do so once you’ve logged in!

Questions?
Please contact the Box Office at boxoffice@hvshakespeare.org or 845.265.9575.

Kate Hamill’s Top 7 ‘Musts’ for an Ideal Mr. Darcy

When considering Jane Austen’s aloof, hard-headed Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, which devilishly handsome leading man comes to mind? If you’re like anyone with access to BBC or A&E in the mid-’90s, Colin Firth may be your go-to embodiment of this unlikely romantic hero, having appeared in 1995’s made-for-television Pride & Prejudice directed by Simon Langton.

“Women being attracted to [Mr. Darcy] took me by surprise,” Firth recently told The Daily Mail. “When I took on the role it seemed to me that he was imperious and stiff and forbidding, and I didn’t know what there was to play apart from him scowling all the time. I thought it would be quite fun and liberating to play someone who was completely and utterly dislikeable, unsympathetic, judgmental and snobbish.”

Darcy may find a foe in Firth, but a friend in playwright Kate Hamill. Hamill’s playful adaptation of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE makes its debut under the HVSF Theater Tent this summer, and not without the weirdo women (and men) who’ve become signature players in a Hamill adaptation.

“I’m so disinterested in beautiful, perfect people,” beamed Hamill. “Lizzy Bennet’s a total weirdo and should be treated as such. She and Darcy are both odd ducks… odd ducks that swim together.”

So how will Hamill’s Odd Duck Darcy shape up this summer? Here are her top seven must-haves in an ideal leading man:

  1. Righteous: “He tries to do the right thing all the time”
  2. Smart: “He’s capable of being quite nerdy.”
  3. Stubborn: “That’s a big one!”
  4. Principled: “He has to be someone with a lot of integrity.”
  5. Funny: “Intentionally and unintentionally, for sure.”
  6. Magnetic: “Someone you feel a deep connection with.”
  7. But, above all: “HUMAN! There’s just no other way to put it.”

 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is in previews June 10 – June 23, 2017 and runs June 24 – September 4, 2017. Season tickets go on sale to the public on March 15, but members of our Saints & Poets Society and Festival Circles have early access. Are you between the ages of 16 and 35? Consider joining our Revelers or Teen Revelers program for exclusive discounts, events, and more.

Once a Teacher, Always a Student: Poughkeepsie Educator Reflects on Methods

Students to the north in Poughkeepsie, NY – a historic, sprawling city on the Hudson River – have found a literary champion in middle school English teacher Elizabeth Morehead. Morehead, an educator at Orville A. Todd Middle School, participated in HVSF’s Teachers’ Shakespeare Institute nearly a decade ago. Ten years later, she’s still sharing the energy, methods, and impact she discovered there with her own students:

When I reflect upon my twelve years in teaching English Language Arts on the secondary level, there is one defining moment that changed my approach to teaching literature overall. It was in the summer of 2007 that I attended the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s (HVSF) Teachers’ Institute and suddenly there was a distinctive ”before and after” in my educational methodology.

Over a career in the classroom, a teacher is offered a myriad of professional development opportunities, some more worthwhile than others. During a summer, ten years ago, I was being trained in: using a Smartboard in the classroom, implementing a new online grading system, and tracking students’ achievement in reading using another online program. It was serendipitous that I was then introduced to HVSF. In pursuit of solid techniques to teach Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to eighth grade students, I discovered this organization. What I did not know then was that attending this professional development opportunity with HVSF would not only fortify me with sound educational procedures to teach Shakespeare’s dramas, but it would also impact my approach to teaching literature. I am markedly more confident in my delivery of instruction when tackling Shakespeare and have been asked to teach students and teachers at colleges in the Hudson Valley who are looking for ways to learn or enhance their approach. All of this success I owe to my training with HVSF.


“…it would also impact my approach to teaching literature.”

– Elizabeth Morehead, educator


In both the seventh and eighth grade classroom, I continue to employ methods learned from that very first HVSF Teachers’ Institute and from the close to ten institutes I have attended subsequently. In fact, many of the techniques I use with students are all methods used with the literature we read and analyze prior to diving into Shakespeare. Students are schooled in the methods of working with the text to validate their ideas, choices and stances with poems, short stories, novels and autobiographical works we read. Well before we begin reading and performing Shakespeare, students are accustomed to approaching literature in this manner and that allows us to be able to focus on the rigor of Shakespeare’s writing which very often feels antique and lofty to today’s student.

Because of my work with HVSF’s Teachers’ Institute and the organization at large, I have been able to add Macbeth to our seventh grade curriculum and, in turn, have been given the opportunity of exposing students to Shakespeare at a younger age when they are less hesitant and free from the fear people generally associate with reading, performing, and even watching Shakespeare’s works. I have taken on the responsibility of making most, if not all, of my students’ first experience with Shakespeare positive and highly engaging. I would not be able to do so without the invaluable approaches I have learned with the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.


“I have been given the opportunity of exposing students to Shakespeare at a younger age, when they are less hesitant and free from the fear people generally associate with reading…”

– Elizabeth Morehead, educator


Former students who come back to visit after high school and college continue to reminisce about their Shakespeare experience in middle school. Some students say it sparked a love for his work. Others say, “I wish teachers presented Shakespeare’s plays the way you did,” and many just want to laugh at the memories we made exploring the play through performance. These compliments I owe to HSVF and the methods they have given me over the last ten years in making Shakespeare not just accessible, but memorable to students with a wide variety of abilities.

 

Thanks, Elizabeth! Learn more about HVSF’s Teachers’ Shakespeare Institute here

 

Embracing the Great Work Ahead

Dear Friends,

Seen from above in its setting by the Thames, Shakespeare’s theater was a large circle that drew into its circumference all sorts of people to experience an astonishing diversity of stories. Shakespeare and his fellow company members called it “The Globe” not just because it was round, but because it was conceived to be a place of radical inclusivity; its purpose was to encompass the whole world.

Empathy, generosity, diversity, imagination, and courage: these are the values that permeate Shakespeare’s plays, and they are the core values that define the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. They are also profoundly American values, and they have been severely tested during this long and divisive election season.

At a time when the social structures that bind us together are increasingly in peril, we at HVSF are more committed than ever before to creating and supporting community through theater. This process requires listening actively and empathetically to everyone’s stories, not just to those who shout the loudest, but also and especially to those whose voices are often ignored or silenced. As people who care about the health of our democracy, this is the great work ahead, and we are ready to embrace it.

Playwright Richard Nelson (The General from America) was recently asked whether this year’s election season has caused him to feel more optimistic or pessimistic about the role of theater in the popular conversation. His response?

“Wildly optimistic. Theater is the only artistic form that uses the entire live human being as its expression. We, the writers, express ourselves… using all of it: voice, body, movement. It’s why, for thousands of years, people have come together for theater in all sorts of ways. It’s live human beings sharing space at the same time, and that’s a very, very important experience.”

I’m with Richard. And with Shakespeare. And I hope you’ll join us in this most urgent and timeless of civic conversations: “Who are we? And who do we aspire to be?”

Yours,

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Davis McCallum, Artistic Director

GRAVEDIGGER’S TALE: Gravedigging Colatown, SC by Louis Butelli

Originally published April 28, 2016 by Louis Butelli.

Hello, friend! Thank you so, so much for popping by for this, our latest dispatch from Gravedigging across the nation.

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So far, my one-man show Gravedigger’s Tale has traveled to Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Florida, and South Carolina. In the morning, I hop on a plane to play the show in Hawaii. There will be plenty to say about that, but, for now, I want to focus on the South Carolina gig. And even more particularly, I want to focus on my dear friend and closest collaborator, Robert Richmond.

It’s hard to know even where to begin about Robert.

I’ll start with where he’s at right now. Rob is the Associate Chair, Co-Artistic Director and Professor of Theatre at University of South Carolina in the enchanted city of Columbia, SC. He also directs plays all over the place, most notably at Folger Theatre in Washington, DC. He is Dad to two beautiful kids, both of whom I’ve had the great pleasure to know since they drew their first breaths. He is a mentor, a teacher, a friend and a confidant to a huge number of people, many of whom now dance alongside us in this ridiculous business. He is a nurturer of talent, a brilliant editor and advisor, and is the person I would call first if I was taken to prison. Admittedly, he’d probably let that call go to voicemail. But he’d be there for my court appearance in the morning, and would have acting and wardrobe notes.

We have worked side by side in a wide variety of venues since 1998, and I hear his voice in my head every time I am required to make an artistic choice: even when I’m working on a project that Rob is not working on, we are still collaborating. As an actor, I think, “what would make Rob laugh?” As a director, I think, “how would Rob solve this problem?” As a teacher, I think, “how would Rob articulate this?” To be fair, sometimes I think that and then do exactly the opposite. But, to be even more fair, most often I outright steal from him, or just do what I imagine he might do.

All of this is to say that there wouldn’t be such a thing as Gravedigger’s Tale without Robert. It was his pitch and his concept and, a year ago, Folger locked he and I in a room with instructions “not to come out” until we “had a show.” I’ve been in that kind of situation before and, believe me: there is nobody else with whom I’d rather be locked in a room – you know, like that crazy “escape puzzle” kind of room – than Robert.

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Rob in a handsome suit.

If I had to put it into words, I would say that the reason for the statement is that we both sort of live for “the room.” We love the problem-solving nature of it. We love the challenge of it. We love the gallows humor that comes from it. We love the heightened emotions that come from it, and how they reflect the work, just by being there with a task at hand. I won’t presume to speak for Robert here, but I also love some of the shittier parts of the room. The too-much coffee. The tired limbs. The eye-wobbling frustration of pounding away at an expired idea. The 11th hour burst of energy, leaping to one’s middle-aged feet when a new idea seems like it just might work.

Additionally, I love how, when I make something with Robert, we find two (or more) ways to the same destination. More than that, I love how, once we’ve made the thing, it takes on a life of its own when it’s unleashed on an audience.

Which brings me to part deux of this blogggg post.

Our Gravedigger show is billed as “interactive.” Now, that means lots of different things to lots of different people. And please believe that I am just as horrified by being asked to “participate” in an evening’s entertainment as the next person. (Please disregard at this point the fact that I currently perform in the amazingly kick-ass Sleep No More. That’s fodder for a whole other post).

In this show, it’s all very gentle. I pull a female audience-member onstage to help me with Ophelia and, more pertinently to this post, I pull a male audience-member onstage to stand in for Hamlet’s father. In the bit, I explain how Hamlet’s uncle poured poison into his father’s ear, and what the effects were. I then “coach” the audience-member in the finer points of dying by poison.

At one of our shows at USC, I spotted a very rapt and eager boy, probably 8 or 9 years old, in the audience with his parents. I couldn’t help myself: I simply had to pull him up and poison him. I won’t waste too many more words on it, but this boy was…perfect. He was open, he was game, he was brave, he was funny, he gave the audience a big “thumbs up,” and he was all anybody could talk about at the reception afterwards.

I’ll close this post with a sequence of pictures of this excellent young man in action:

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Found him!

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Placed him, produced poison!

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He begins to “die…”

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He “dies” simply and elegantly.

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I take his example.

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He does it better than I ever could.

I wish I knew that kid’s name. I wish that he could’ve been in the room with Robert and I when we created the show, because I feel like that kid every time Rob and I get to work together. I hope that kid keeps coming to the theater, regardless of where his life takes him. I just can’t thank him enough. Not to sound like an absolute sap, but I get a little bit misty thinking about our moment on-stage together.

Oh! Just by the way, all of these photos are courtesy of the most excellent Jason Ayer and the University of South Carolina’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

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Thanks for reading! Next stop: HAWAII!!!!!

Come back and see us, y’all!

GRAVEDIGGER’S TALE comes to HVSF October 26 – 31, 2016 inside the Boscobel Mansion!

 

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Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Names Three New Members to the Board of Directors

Robin Arditi, President of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s Board of Directors has announced the appointment of three new members, following the organization’s September 14th Board Meeting. Joining the board are Steven Holley, Jim Kilman, and Lauri Sawyer.

Steven Holley is a member of the Litigation Group at Sullivan & Cromwell. His practice focuses on antitrust counseling and litigation, and also includes bankruptcy, securities and tax litigation, as well as complex commercial disputes. Holley has been recognized by: Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation – Litigation Star (2008-2016) and Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the United States (2016); Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – recognized as a leader for Antitrust Litigation (2007-2016); The Best Lawyers in America – recognized for Antitrust Litigation (2013-2016); New York Super Lawyers – recognized for Antitrust Litigation (2013-2015); and The International Who’s Who of Competition Lawyers – recognized for Antitrust Litigation (2007-2015). A graduate of Indiana University, Holley received his J.D. from New York University School of Law. Mr. Holley lives in Brooklyn and Garrison, NY.

Jim Kilman is Chief Executive Officer of KielStrand Capital, a family office merchant bank based in Scarborough, New York that makes and manages investments, provides advice and engages in philanthropic activities. Prior to forming KielStrand Capital in 2016, he retired as Vice Chairman of Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley. Kilman currently serves on the Boards of Modular Space Corporation, a privately-held provider of modular buildings in Berwyn, PA and Lebenthal Holdings, a privately-held broker-dealer and asset manager in New York, NY. His community involvement includes serving on the Finance and Investments Committee of the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY and as Treasurer of his Yale College Class. He holds an M.A. and a B.A. in Economics from Yale University. Mr. Kilman lives in Scarborough, NY.

Lauri Sawyer is a partner at Jones Day where she has a broad-based federal and state commercial litigation and arbitration practice. Sawyer is strongly committed to pro bono service, especially for clients with domestic relations and immigration issues. She is involved in several pro bono organizations and was recognized for her service in 2001 with the inMotion Commitment to Justice Award. In addition, she serves on several advisory and nonprofit boards. She received a B.A. in International Studies cum laude from the University of Denver, and M.A. in Russian Studies from the University of Washington, and she received her J.D. magna cum laude from Mercer University. Ms. Sawyer lives in Garrison, NY.

 

2016: Your Top Ten Favorite Moments

Kurt Rhoads in drag. Contemporary context for a ‘problem play.’ Costume snafus. Unruly weather and a little magic. We take a quick look back at some of your favorite moments from the 2016 Summer Season…

1. Ewan, New Audience Member: Curiosity & Cadences
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LeRoy McClain as Claudio, Annie Purcell as Isabella in MEASURE FOR MEASURE

“We attended and were swept away by Measure for Measure. Sure, we had to listen carefully to the language, but that kept me on the edge of my seat. The phenomenon of the language, with its cadences, inflections, stresses, and nuances, drew me right in – and although I didn’t understand everything because of my unfamiliarity with the mother tongue – I was drawn toward an understanding of what was happening before me. What a curious feeling.”

2. Laura, HVSF’s Company Manager: AS YOU LIKE IT’s First Preview
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Mark Bedard as Touchstone, Nance Williamson as Audrey in AS YOU LIKE IT

“The truly magical first preview of As You Like It (and first preview of the whole summer!), when somehow – and very unexpectedly – Nance-as-Audrey’s red velvet glove went flying and Mark-as-Touchstone’s hand shot out and caught it mid-air. The shock and laughter of the audience and especially the actors was so genuine and true. It was so special – like magic was just breathed into the tent on that first night.”

3. Stephen, Audience Member: A Hyper-Local Work of Art
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Jim Cairl, Joseph Merriam, Timothy Harbolic in OUR TOWN

“I can’t remember a work of art that has stayed with me, and moved me, in a thoroughly modern sense, to wake up to the precious life that is all around me every day. It sounds like a cliché, but in the hands of that dramatist, and that production, the call to wake up and live in the moment could not have been more beautifully conveyed.”

4. Anne, Audience Member & HVSF Supporter: Literally Everything.
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The Sun Sets before OUR TOWN, Photo by Anne

“Sunset before Our Town! Rosalind in As You Like It! Everything in So Please You! Lucio in Measure For Measure! Boscobel every time! The conservatory company! But the very very best: the Our Town Bake-Off playwriting workshop and HVSF2 reading!”

5. Elena, Audience Member: “The Seven Stages of Man”
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Maria-Christina Oliveras as Jacques in AS YOU LIKE IT

“I saw As You Like It with a friend and our sons. It was delightful — a very special evening. As we often find, the actors interactions with the audience are such an enhancement to the experience. We always buy front row so we feel right in the action, and this evening exceeded our hopes. The nuance, energy, expressiveness, creativity…it was a most memorable night. Our ‘schoolboys’, who were given a nod during the famous soliloquy, are sure to never forget it. The play came to life and was completely accessible.”

6. Nora, HVSF’s Associate Director of Education: A Hilarious Snafu
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Conservatory Company Members Plead for “The Play” in SO PLEASE YOU

“During the So Please You dress rehearsal, the moment came when the book was supposed to fall from the sky but the rig wasn’t working and it wouldn’t fall. In the spirit of the production, the actors accepted the challenge and spiraled into a couple minutes of complete hilarity while crying, begging, pleading and praying that the book would fall. And once it did…the show went on!”

7. Emma, HVSF’s Director of Marketing & Communications: The Traveling Box Office
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An OUR TOWN Traveling Box Office Ticket Voucher

“I loved being on the road with the Our Town Traveling Box Office at the end of August. It was such a pleasure meeting new audience members on their home turf and learning about what this hyper-local production meant to them. Plus, any day spent bouncing around the Hudson Valley is a good day in my book!”

8. Kate, HVSF’s Managing Director: Conjuring Gale-Force Winds
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“Enter Macduff” During Our All-Female MACBETH

“My favorite moment was the first preview of Macbeth, which was a wildly windy and eerie night with just the craziest gusts and cold temps. And the wind continued to blow at just the right moment. When the three women said in unison “enter Macduff” The gale made the whole tent shudder and it felt like our three witches were truly conjuring something magical.”

9. Kim, Audience Member: Independence Day on the River
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Independence Day Fireworks Over AS YOU LIKE IT

“Seeing the July 4th fireworks at West Point during As You Like It‘s intermission!”

10. Regina, HVSF’s Business Manager: Painting Cold Spring Red
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Zachary Fine as MEASURE FOR MEASURE’s Lucio

“My favorite moment of the season was when Kurt Rhoads, Zack Fine and Sean McNall came bursting into the office in full costume for Measure for Measure on their way to a video shoot. It is unforgettable! Kurt’s dramatic sashay in leggings and high heels was particularly hilarious! They all caused a stir on Main Street here in Cold Spring that day.”

 

 

Beauty On the Other Side of Fear: Antoinette Robinson on OUR TOWN

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

If– by Rudyard Kipling

The process of creating Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s 30th Anniversary Season production of OUR TOWN – from the workshops to the auditions to the rehearsals – was a first for me. I was used to coming into a rehearsal room and being ‘skilled’ enough, if you will, to either be open or, at the very least, fake it ’til I make it. From the very first workshop: being asked to connect with strangers from all walks of life, to trust, to give in… it was something I thought I knew how to do.

There is no ‘faking’ when you are asked to look into someone’s eyes for an undisclosed amount of time. Or when you are asked to delicately cup someone’s face. Your presence, your full self, is required–on both ends. These acts insist on bravery/courage/patience/love and a pure belief in yourself and those around you to be willing to share in them. And every day, when you think you can’t… and every day that you want to hide, and your own insecurity takes over… Any moment I thought I wasn’t brave enough, the acceptance in my cast-mates’ eyes with who I am – what I brought to that moment – filled me with a kind of peace: where I was that day was enough.

This is the essence of community. I wish every process were like this, started like this. Before scripts are involved and the breaking down of a scene or figuring out what the story is… I wish there was a moment in the room to just see one another. To experience one another.


“Let’s really look at one another!” -Emily Webb


How many times have you been to work or class or rehearsal and there are people you’ve worked CLOSELY with, and yet, you never go pass the all-too-familiar “how are you?”/”good”  construct?

Go beyond your comfort zone. Step out. Risk something. There’s beauty on the other side of that fear.

Are we all meant to be soul mates? No. That’s not reality. But can I take the time to truly engage and care for my fellow brother/sister, artist/collaborator, milkman/postman? YES.

I can honestly say there isn’t a person in the cast of OUR TOWN that I don’t feel some connection with – beyond being in the same show. It’s palpable. What we’ve created here is magical.

And it is an honor to get to share that with each and every one of you. To You!

Antoinette Robinson, a member of HVSF’s 2016 Acting Company, joins the cast of OUR TOWN as Emily Webb this weekend.

OUR TOWN, Directed by John Christian Plummer, runs through September 5, 2016.

HVSF Welcomes Drama Desk and Drama League Award Nominee Julia Coffey!

ActingCo_2016_CoffeyCoffey will take over the roles of Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT and Mariana/Mistress Overdone in MEASURE FOR MEASURE.

Artistic Director Davis McCallum has announced that Drama League and Drama Desk Award nominee Julia Coffey will join the company this week, first appearing in AS YOU LIKE IT on Sunday, July 31.

Coffey was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance as Mrs. Janus in Mint Theater Company’s production of London Wall, directed by McCallum. She received a Drama League nomination for her performance of Mrs. Holroyd in The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd, also at the Mint.

Though this will be Coffey’s debut at HVSF, she is no stranger to the character of Rosalind! This will be her third production of AS YOU LIKE IT following those at Santa Cruz Shakespeare, and Baltimore’s Center Stage. Of her performance in Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Julia Coffey is an ever-more delightful Rosalind, infectiously confused, then irresistibly slipping more deeply in love. Her banter with Celia sets the play’s tone, and her cross-dressed wooing of Orlando leavens affecting romance with sharp comic second thoughts.” Among her other New York credits are The Trip To Bountiful at Signature Theater and Perfect Arrangements at Primary Stages. Most recently, Coffey appeared as Hedda in Studio Theatre’s production of Hedda Gabler. Other reginal credits include: Arcadia (Lady Croom) at A.C.T., Tales from Hollywood (Helen) at the Guthrie Theater, The Merchant of Venice (Portia) at Shakespeare Theatre, Importance of Being Earnest (Gwendolyn) at PlayMakers Rep, Romeo and Juliet (Juliet) at Chicago Shakespeare, and Macbeth (Lady Macbeth) at A Noise Within.

Jessica Love, currently playing Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT and Mariana and Mistress Overdone in MEASURE FOR MEASURE, will depart from HVSF’s acting company on August 1 to take up a role in the world premiere of Aubergine by Julio Cho at Playwrights Horizons.

Of the transition, McCallum says, “Julia is one of the most gifted actors I know, and I loved working with her on London Wall, so her name immediately came to mind when this vacancy became known. We look forward to welcoming Julia to the HVSF family, and can’t wait to share her work with our audiences at the Tent. It was a pleasure having Jessica Love with us this season, and we wish her well at Playwrights Horizons.”

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AS YOU LIKE IT and MEASURE FOR MEASURE run in repertory with MACBETH through August 28, 2016.

The Hubble-Bubble Ruckus of SO PLEASE YOU

In celebration of Shakespeare’s 400 year legacy, HVSF’s family-friendly comedy SO PLEASE YOU tells the story of a servant named Denis who appears only once in Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT, to announce that, “so please you,” there is a wrestler at the door! This tragical-comical, comical-tragical tale turns the story of Denis inside out, shaking out all the funny stuff between its ears for a rollicking, clownish romp alongside one of Shakespeare’s (almost) silent heroes. Featuring a mosaic of Shakespearean history and language, SO PLEASE YOU offers something for everyone to honor this momentous legacy year.

SO PLEASE YOU dreamer and director Zachary Fine offered up the following to introduce the show. Will you join him under the tent?

Originally published May 4, 2016. SO PLEASE YOU runs August 15 – August 29, 2016.


160710_Img_ZackNEW2Hello! Hi. Hola. HELLO!

Would you do me a favor? You may think I’m crazy, but indulge me for a second. Would you mind just whispering back at me, “Hello”?

Go ahead, try it. Whisper it softly. Wait! First, just look look around and make sure nobody sees you talking to your program.

Did you check? Double check? Now, try it. Pleeeeeaaaaase. Just whisper “Hello.”

YES! Thank you. If you didn’t do it, you can still go back and try it.

So, how’s it going? …Come on, you can do it. You can tell me. You can even bring me closer to your face and hide the fact that you are talking to me, but please just give it a try. Trust me, it’s gonna feel good once you do it.

So, how’s it going?

Really? I hear you. I get it.

So, next question: What did you have for breakfast?

160712_FB_GIF_SoPleaseYouIf you are still reading this and not whispering back at me, you just might be missing out on all the fun. This would be so boring to read if you didn’t play along. Also, I’m not going to write anything about what you are about to see (since I have no clue; we haven’t made it yet).

We’ve come this far. YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me.

So, what did you have for breakfast?

Oh, that sounds scrumptious. I had some toast and scrambled eggs with a little bit of cheddar. It was delicious. And coffee… I think I mentioned coffee. Oh, how I love coffee on a cold May morning! …May?!

Yeah, it’s May 4th, right? No it’s not, it’s today, you say. Yeah, I know, it’s today. No, silly, my today, not your today.

Well, what’s the difference? One’s now and the other is then, you say. But my now is now and your now is then. No, silly. Your now is then and my now is now. You mean your now? Yes, MY NOW! It’s both, right? I think I may have had too much coffee.

Let’s just agree, then, that my now and your now are both now and both then.

As you sit in your now (my then) under the tent, wondering, perhaps even dreaming, about what you are about to see in SO PLEASE YOU, I sit in my now (and your then) drinking my delicious coffee, wondering, perhaps even dreaming, about the same thing. So, are we both together in our dreaming? I think yes.

So, did anyone see you talking to your program? They did?! Did you laugh? Did they laugh? I hope so. I mean, you are having a conversation with a device! Tell the truth, it’s fun to be ridiculous sometimes, right? To let our imaginations run and enter into the world of play?

Welcome to the world of the clown – that part of us that dreams big, that loves to pretend, that loves to play the game, that doesn’t know how it all ends and sometimes like to talk to pieces of paper. The clown embodies for us the rambunctious hope and baffling chaos of our humanity. Ridiculous and sublime, brilliant and idiotic, courageous and terrified – full of curiosity and trepidation, and yet somehow amidst the hubble-bubble ruckus of it all the clown has the terrible/wonderful idea to bring it all out on stage for us to see. The clown dares herself to stand directly in the present moment, the place where the stage and the world meet, and in that place the clown allows us to see, to look, to feel. She stands there for our delight and for our pleasure and for something even greater – the pleasure of our togetherness, the tender magic of our collective imagination.

With that in mind, I invite you into the world of SO PLEASE YOU. What is it about? I have no idea. Remember, it’s May 4th right now, so we haven’t even started rehearsing it yet. But right NOW we are are dreaming together, remember? And our dream is happening NOW. Your now and my then and my now and your then…and we are together, and we are not alone.

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SO PLEASE YOU, Conceived and Directed by Zachary Fine, runs August 15 – August 29, 2016.