Monthly Archives: June 2015

DreamWrights’ New Bardolator

Shakespeare blog

To those who know me well, it is no secret that I am a bardolator. What is a bardolator, you may ask? A bardolator is a lover of all things Shakespeare! When I noticed Shakespearean Stages was being offered as a summer camp at DreamWrights, I was so excited to help out in any way I could. Getting kids and teens excited about Shakespeare is something that I think is so important, and I was happy to step in and assist this week of Shakespearean Stages camp. (Kelsey Markey is the actual instructor of this camp and is also a fan of the Bard!)

I am not sure how this love began, but my British heritage has certainly played a role (no pun intended) in my fascination with this legendary British playwright. Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to travel and visit family in the UK, and on my last go-around, I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday in no place but Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.

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Shakespeare was born in this little town along the Avon River in April 1564. He lived with his parents, Mary and John, and seven other siblings in a large home on Henley Street. When he was 18, he married Anne Hathaway and remained in the family home (middle right) even after they had their three children: Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet. Shakespeare died in 1616 and is buried under the altar of the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford (bottom right). Above the inscription, a placard promises a curse on any who disturbs his grave.

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To me, Shakespeare’s hometown is not just a tourist-trap. It is the place where a man was inspired to put pen to paper and translate the most essential pieces of the human condition into writing. His language may be convoluted, outdated, or downright superfluous to some, but the ideas that he expresses in his 38 plays and 154 sonnets speak to the flaws in all of us– in any time– as human beings. At times, we are all consumed by the destructive ambition of Macbeth or the hesitation of Hamlet. We are as impulsive as Romeo in first love, and we channel Cordelia’s unconditional devotion in our own families. We all know those two “enemies” who, like Beatrice and Benedick, mask their true feelings for one another behind insults and banter.

I suppose I ask — in defense of William Shakespeare– that in theatre and beyond, we get past the differences in vocabulary, sentence structure, and culture of his plays. Instead, focus on the fascinating thread of humanity that weaves centuries of people together. If you allow this to happen, you need not travel very far: you will feel a connection with Shakespeare as profound as crossing the threshold of his home.

Hannah Kohler, Summer Camp Intern

 

The Importance of a Soup Pot!

soup pot outside

Hello, I’m a soup pot- name’s Maximillon Trunhouser.  You may call me MT, everyone else does. I’d like to tell you about the most important night of my life … so far.

There I was, sitting by myself on a shelf in the basement of a church. I was lonely and frustrated.

You see, I knew there were so many things I could do and create. However, I could do nothing all by myself.

I could hear a lot of people out in the fellowship hall.  It sounded like they were all sizes. You could tell by their voices. Believe me they all had something to say. The little voices were called on as often as the big ones. Some lady was sort of in charge, I guess. I couldn’t see anything. Those humans, they never leave the door open!

soup pot shelf sad

At any rate, I didn’t have much hope of being needed. It was already after eight o’clock.  Just then I heard the door open, and someone turned on the lights. I was near blinded for a minute. When my eyes adjusted, I saw a lady searching for something. “Take me, take me,” I thought.

“Ah, huh!” she said. It was that same in-chargeish lady. “This will be perfect!” Yes, she picked me! And she knew I was perfect. She wasn’t even my mother and she knew! I was determined to do my very best work. She would not be disappointed. She carried me out to the hall, and placed me in the middle of a table right in front of …

“Whoa! There are a lot of people!” I remember thinking. The next thing I knew everyone in the room was coming up to see me, which was very nice. Then they all started putting things in me! Some things were hard and cold. When they hit the bottom, they clinked. Others were light as air and floated down silently.

Then a man person picked me up and took me to a quiet corner, and sat down on the floor with me. “This is cozy,” I thought. But he turned me over and dumped all of my gifts on the floor.

“Now wait just a minute!” I tried to shout. He was separating everything and counting.  His excitement grew as the number got higher.

The next thing I knew he was carrying me back to all the people. Everyone became quiet. The man whispered something to the lady. Then they held me up for all to see.

She said, “Thanks to this Soup Pot, and all of you … Our theatre can be born!”

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They all applauded, and cheered, and hugged each other.  It was very exciting. And that was only the beginning. They kept coming back and planning, auditioning, rehearsing, laughing and hugging a lot. I wasn’t needed again until they did their first sandwich making fundraiser.  I held the lettuce for them!

I knew they needed more space.  So I wasn’t surprised when they stopped coming, but I do miss them. I hear people talk about them every now and then.

“DreamWrights” is what they voted to call themselves.

It seems they are doing very well. Isn’t it amazing what human folk can accomplish when they all work together … and have Maximillon Trunhouser Soup Pot handy?!

Grease is the Word!

Nic Ecker, Guest Director for DreamWrights’ summer teen musical, Grease, sat down with DreamWrighters to answer some questions.

2015 DreamWrights Grease Group

DW: What attracted you to direct this production?

NE: This show is actually part of my internship at Shippensburg University.  Since I am a theatre major, I needed to have a senior showcase that demonstrates what I want to do in the future.  Directing this show was a great outlet for just that, since I eventually want to direct theatre shows when I get out of college.  Also, I have been in a production of Grease in high school and am very familiar with the show.  I love the music and it’s always a crowd favorite.

DW: How many people are involved and what is the age range?

NE: We have a cast of around twenty, with ages ranging from fifteen to twenty-two.  We also have a great crew made up also of teens and young adults.

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DW: What is the most challenging part of bringing this story to life?

NE: Since this is my first show full-time directing, I am always a little nervous about pulling everything together, but I have a great staff behind be in every action I do.  I’ve worked in all-student productions before, which I always thought was going to be hard prior to being on staff.  But, I quickly realized if you give them respect, they reciprocate that tenfold.  At the end of the day, it’s a very rewarding process being a director, seeing all the hard work you’ve put in being reflected on stage.

DW: Why should people come to see this show?

As I’ve said before, this is a completely teen and young adult production of Grease, which shows how much talent we have coming through the woodwork.  Our cast and crew are extremely talented and I’m so proud of all they have done so far.  This show is also my directorial debut, so if one day I become famous, then the audience can say they saw my first show that started it all! (ha ha) And also, it’s Grease! Everyone loves Grease and it’s always a good time for both the audience and the cast to be a part of it.  The music is iconic and the characters are classic.  Everyone should come out to experience a trip down memory lane!

Nic Ecker Headshot

DW: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am going to be a senior at Shippensburg University, majoring in Interdisciplinary Arts and minoring in theatre, music, and communications / journalism.  I am very active in the band programs at Ship, being a member of the marching band, jazz band, and concert band.  Next year, I will be section leader of the trumpets for marching band.  I am also a member of Ship’s theatre group Act V.  Last year, I assistant directed our production of Death of a Salesman and was just the music director of The Addams Family in the spring.  I have been acting in shows since I was in seventh grade, but, in recent years, I have found my calling being on staff.  I have so much love for music and the arts that I can’t image my life without it!