Friday, May 11, 2012

Shakespeare Festival Offers Several Ways to Celebrate the Bard

Fresh off the success of Ogunquit Performing Arts’ 6th annual Piano Festival, this ambitious presenting group that is sponsored by the town of Ogunquit and supported by local businesses is undertaking a new festival devoted to the writings and philosophies of William Shakespeare.
This event, partially funded by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council and a second grant from the Ogunquit Rotary Club, will explore (in a variety of ways) the works of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English poet, playwright, and actor who is arguably the most important writer in the English language and the world’s eminent dramatist. His surviving works consist of about thirty-eight plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems and other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
The kick-off event for the 2012 Shakespeare Festival is the presentation of the film “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Friday May 18 at 7:30 pm at the Dunaway Center. This film is the 1996 film adaptation of the 1994 Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage production. It is a playful version of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy. It is richly colored, elegantly costumed, and superbly acted, with the beauty of Shakespeare’s language shining throughout.
Then on Saturday, May 19, between 2 and 4 p.m. at the Dunaway Center, participants will be transported back into Elizabethan times with a free afternoon of Shakespearean events that will be opened by poets of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. Participants will meet and interact with actors, poets, scholars, and musicians, and are invited to come in period costume. There will be poetry readings, stories and crafts hosted by the Wells Public Library staff, a theatre Workshop conducted by MaineStage Shakespeare (for ages 11+), a panel discussion by professionals in the field of theatre production: “Why Shakespeare?” another workshop for ages 5 to 10 conducted by MaineStage Shakespeare, and an Elizabethan Music Workshop with SeaCoast Brass.
The Festival’s culminating event, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at the Dunaway Center, will be “A Taste of Shakespeare” presented by MaineStage Shakespeare who will perform, in costume, selected acts from “Othello,” “As You Like It,” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost” with introductory and intermission poetry plus Elizabethan music by SeaCoast Brass. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the Dunaway Center, Ogunquit Camera Shop, and Ogunquit Welcome Center, and at the door the evening of the performance. For detailed information about this event and its participants go to: (courtesy photo)