Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Folio of Shakespeare's Works Makes Tour Stop at UConn

Courtesy of The Folger Shakespeare Library
An Old Guy is Taking the UConn Campus By Storm
By Lauren Yarger
He's not a hot political speaker. a popular professor or even a star athlete. In fact, he's an old guy -- ancient, really at 400+ -- but he's causing quite stir over on UConn's Storrs campus.

He's William Shakespeare and he's bringing out the crowds to see a copy of the “First Folio,” the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays published by two of his fellow actors in 1623, seven years after the Bard’s death. The collection includes 18 plays that would otherwise have been lost, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors and As You Like It.

The crowd was so large at the opening night event for the exhibit at the William Benton Museum of Art last week, that jokes reportedly were made that it might exceed turnout for a Huskies game....

The Folio is making a stop in each of the 50 states (as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico) to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The tour is a partnership between The Folger Shakespeare Library, the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association.

Owen Williams, assistant director of the Folger Institute, and a quiet man whose passion for history comes alive when he speaks about the Folio, was on campus last week, along with Brendan Kane, associate professor of History and assistant director of humanities and Gregory Samenza, professor of English, to give some background on the book. They chatted about how Shakespeare really was known more as a poet in his time and how, though he made a living from writing for the theater, the Bard had no idea that he would become an icon of it. 

Gregory Samenza, Owen Williams and Brendan Kane with the First Folio.
The cradle which nests the Folio in its temperature-regulated glass case is specific for this book, which appears to be in surprisingly good condition given its age. Its pages are opened to the "To Be or Note to Be" soliloquy from Hamlet and it's hard not to be moved by being so close to words that have traveled through so many years. 

Surrounding the Folio (which is on display at the Benton until Sept. 25)  are panels with additional information. In a room adjacent to it is “The Culture of Shakespeare," an exhibit featuring theatrical costumes borrowed from Shakespeare productions at Hartford Stage and CT Repertory as well as posters designed by UConn grad students. The exhibit also includes paintings on loan from the Wadsworth Atheneum.

During the month-long run of the exhibition, UConn will also present a variety of related academic and cultural programming. The activities will include a Connecticut Repertory Theatre production of King Lear Oct. 6-16, workshops for high school English teachers, a festival of Shakespeare in film and popular culture, a puppet adaptation of “Macbeth,” and other events. See a full calendar below. More information: http://shakespeare.uconn.edu.

Sept. 1-25 – “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare” open for viewing. The Beanery Café at the Benton will feature Shakespearian era food on its menu at the museum. School Tours with Museum Docents and Faculty Guides speaking on Shakespeare and Printing – Tuesdays through Friday, 10:30 am, 11:30 am and 1:30 pm
Sept. 1-25 – “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare” open for viewing. The Beanery Café at the Benton will feature Shakespearian era food on its menu at the museum. School Tours with Museum Docents and Faculty Guides speaking on Shakespeare and Printing – Tuesdays through Friday, 10:30 am, 11:30 am and 1:30 pm from Sept. 6-23.
Sept. 1-25 – “Shakespeare at UConn” exhibition in adjacent gallery at the Benton Museum, featuring costume pieces, props and photography from the University of Connecticut and Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s extensive archive of performances.
Sept. 1-Oct. 4 – Shakespeare in Film Festival, weekly through the entire fall semester and beyond. 7 pm.  LOCATION TBD
Sept. 9 – Public Reading of “Macbeth” by Connecticut Theatre Company, 223 Norden St. New Britain, Noon -1 pm
Sept. 9 –Outdoor Shakespeare Film for Families at Dusk. Mansfield Town Green
Sept. 10 and  11 – Workshops at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry for Families and Students to build Bread & Puppet-style Shakespearian puppets for Celebrate Mansfield Day. 10 am to 5 pm
Sept. 10 – The First Folio Teachers: Shakespeare’s Text Demystified 10 am to noon Benton Museum
Sept. 14 – “Transcriptathon”: Folger manuscript online Humanities Institute Seminar Room Austin Building
Sept. 15 – “The Sound of the Folio: Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation” led by Dr. David Alan Stern will discuss and demonstrate the Early Modern English Sound likely heard on the Elizabeth/Jacobean stage.  Stern combines his expertise and experience as a Hollywood accent coach with the research of David Crystal, renowned UK linguist, to bring the original sound of the Folio to life. 7-8 pm., Drama Music Building 128
Sept. 16 –  El Beto, an original hand-puppet adaptation of Macbeth set against the Mexican Drug Cartels, featuring Spanish-English performances. 8 p.m., Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
Sept. 17 – Words, Words, Words! Fun with Shakespeare - Family Workshop Mansfield Public Library, 2 pm
Sept. 18 – Celebrate Mansfield Day – partnering with the Town of Mansfield, the afternoon, focused on the families and community, will feature a parade with Bread & Puppet-style Shakespeare puppets paraded through the town center at noon.  From 1 to 4 pm the Dramatic Arts department will perform a series of Shakespeare focused activities including a "Sonnet Slam” series of performance recitations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Monologues by the UConn Department of Dramatic Arts and E.O. Smith High School students, a Shakespearian period dance demonstration by the UConn BFA acting students, and a guided tour and demonstration by UConn’s Department of Art & Art History of its antique printing presses and the printing process to create the folio. 
Sept. 19 –“Player, Author, Imposter?” Graduate Student Panel Paper Presentation, Austin Building, Stern Lounge, 11 am to noon
Sept. 21 – Playing with Gender: A Celebration of Shakespearian Acting, Stamford Campus 6 to 8 pm.
Sept. 23 – “Shakespeare’s Songbook” and “Tallis’s Spem in alium” by the UConn Collegium Musicum, Eric Rice, director. 8 pm, Benton Museum
Oct. 6-16 – King Lear, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)
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