Austin Shakespeare Celebrates the Bard’s 450th Birthday with Shakespeare Idol

FREE! All are welcome to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday at Shakespeare Idol, 10 am- 1pm this Saturday (4/26) at the Long Center!  Austin Shakespeare has invited young actors to perform monologues and scenes exploring characters such as “Falstaff,” “Mercutio,” and scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth! 

Three top-notch judges will provide encouragement and provocative comments: Robert Faires, arts editor for the Austin Chronicle and past director for Austin Shakespeare (Robert will be performing a one-man Henry V at the Long Center’s Rollins Studio theater from Sept. 4-14); Jill Swanson, author of Crafting Shakespeare (Jill moderates Austin Shakespeare’s weekly SHAKES ALOUD! reading group; and Ann Ciccolella, artistic director of Austin Shakespeare, who also brings professional actors into middle and high schools in the Austin area.

Last year, the audience was delighted by the young performers, but they were surprisingly riveted by the detailed comments from the judges. They prodded the performers then to experience Shakespeare even more deeply. Next steps suggested were:

• feel passionately about what is at stake for your character;

• allow your final consonants to get you what you want;

• win the audience to your side with a step-by-step argument!

This year’s Shakespeare Idol adds scenes to monologues under the leadership of board member and education chair, Susan McLeland, who teaches film at UT.   Local actor David Boss (Othello, Twelfth Night, Arcadia) will emcee.  The entire celebration will culminate with free birthday cake and a song to the bard!  Schools include Lake Travis High School, One Day Academy and the Academy for Performing and Visual Arts, Austin.

This Saturday is actually the date of Shakespeare’s baptism, of that we can be sure… and we know “All the world’s a stage,” because those words will be spoken at the  upcoming romantic comedy, As You Like It, our 30th Free Shakespeare in Zilker Park, 8 pm every Thursday-Sunday, May 1-25.

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