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From the Director

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From the Director

Dear Friends,

Thank you for being a part of this event which marks our first venture into the world of interactive theatre! This idea has grown on us considerably since we first began to contemplate staging a show featuring five of Shakespeare’s characters. Characters whose stories provide room for considerable thought and reflection on this question: which character’s actions can be seen in the light of both virtue and vice and by which are they ruled?

The idea of a life being ruled by virtue or vice is not a new one. For the medieval mind, there were seven virtues to counter the seven deadly sins. Obviously, this would have been a very live concept in Shakespeare’s day and, as we can see in his plays, a concept that provides a point of great turmoil for some of his characters. We watch as these characters learn about themselves in the mirror of their actions, where they are both confronted and empowered. For some, the image of self that they recognize in the mirror moves them; for others, the recognition moves them not. We have the opportunity to watch what Hamlet says to the players, “…hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature.”

These two plays, Hamlet and King Lear are rich in drama and storytelling, and populated with dynamic, volatile, and vulnerable characters. In both plays we see the break up of a kingdom and a family. We see how the body politic affects the lives and homes of her citizens. We can hear Shakespeare ask, “If the royals are not well, and sane, who can be safe? Who will step into the breach and speak for the good of a nation, for the virtue that rules a kingdom against the vices that destroy men when the monarch is fallen or in decay?” Shakespeare gives us great literature through which we can turn over these questions in our minds today.

So, we wish you very good luck tonight as you watch the flounderings of kings, the turmoil of a mother, and wife, and role reversals in parent-child relationships. In the midst of these conflicts, you will also find humor, madness, sadness, and sacrifice. Lastly, to aid in your decision making process we have chosen a grey scale both for the set and the costumes. Our intention is that without embellishment or distraction the character’s actions and motivations alone are the grounds for your decisions on the vicious or the virtuous.

Thank you for joining us.