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Yeah, It's Gonna Be That Kind of Show

 

A trumpet sounds[1]

It’s been an exciting year at New York Shakespeare Exchange. If you’ve been loyally following us on Facebook and Twitter (or if you feel you feel you’ve been egregiously spammed by us and are just here to verify the url so you can block us/officially place us on your s***list) you might have been vaguely aware of the following events:

  • The Let it Be…Or Not to Be Benefit Concert, where we kept the spirit of the Fab Four alive at the Bitter End.
  • The V-day Detox Pub Crawl, which sent us carousing down Stone Street and invited slighted lovers everywhere to raise a glass…and toss it in their ex-beloved’s face.
  • Two Plays, One Conversation: Romeo & Juliet and Spring’s Awakening (also known as Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby, or So Help Me God There Will Be Negative Consequences)
  • The wildly successful Kickstart Shakespeare campaign, in which NYSX and 700 of our closest friends raised some serious cash ($49,255….do you still get goosebumps counting how many digits that is? Not that we do. Whatever.)

  • Our Island-Inspired Pub Crawl, which washed us up on the faraway shores and mystical haunts of Grammercy Park.

  • And…....
  • wait for it…
  • The New York City premier of our biggest show ever, Island; or, To Be or Not to Be by (our very own resident playwright) Kevin Brewer.

And that, my friends, is what we’re here for today. Because Kevin isn’t the only one who gets to write things. Welcome to the Official Island Rehearsal Blog! (and our schmancy revamped website.) We figured that since our community has grown to more than 1,500 (but who’s counting) new and old friends this year via Kickstart Shakespeare, we’d like keep you all in the loop about our goings on, our revelations, and our delightfully wacky antics.

Island is our biggest project yet: a five-act Shakespearean comedy abouding in literary (read: Shakespearean) and cultural (both pop- and otherwise) references, allusions, wordplay, swordplay, dirty jokes, and dozens and dozens of footnotes to give credit where it's due (again: Shakespeare), as well as to offer some insight into the curious intellectual maneuverings of the playwright.

We've got a company of 44 actors, designers, creative team members, court jesters, and some savages thrown into the mix just for funsies. So to get everyone up to speed, here’s a little break down,[2] Brewer-style:

 

Island; or, To Be or Not to Be
By Kevin Brewer
[3]

KING JOHN III, an exiled monarch.............................................................. Eric Percival[4]  
PRINCE PALAMON, best friend to Arcite................................................... Brad Lewandowski  
LORD RICHARD, King John's fraternal twin brother...................................... Zac Hoogendyk[5]  
LORD ESCALUS, the King's old counselor................................................. Michael E. Lopez  
ARCITE, Escalus' son and best friend to Palamon....................................... Erik Olson  
ROSALINE, daughter of Escalus................................................................ Melissa Carlile-Price[6]  
SIR POMPEY MARTEXT, the local magistrate............................................ Michael Shattner
MAJOR-MAJOR ECHO, Martext's second-in-command............................... Harry Barandes[7]  
MAJOR BELLOWS, Martext's third-in-command......................................... Anna Paratore  
MINOR-HALF-DEPUTY SILENCE, Martext's fourth-and-least-in-command..... Brian Cheng[8]  
ASNATH, a hermit.................................................................................... Leigh Williams[9]  
PHRYNIA, Asnath's daughter, twin sister to Timandra.................................. Elizabeth Neptune[10]  
TIMANDRA, Asnath's daughter, twin sister to Phrynia.................................. Virginia Donohoe[11]  
BALTHASAR, a servant............................................................................ Ryan M. Wilson[12]  
JESSICA, a servant.................................................................................. Amy Stringer [13]  
JULIA, a young woman, fraternal twin sister to Aaron................................... Katelin Wilcox[14]  
K, Julia's best friend.................................................................................. Evelyn Spahr
AARON, fraternal twin brother to Julia......................................................... Adam Patterson

 

Welcome to Island, folks!

 


[1] Not really, obviously. Use your imagination, you’ll see where I’m going with this.

[2] It's a cast breakdown, ok? We're trying to put on a show here, how much time do you think we've got??

[3] What kind of classical theatre company has a Resident Playwright anyway? They had to throw him a bone sometime.

[4] In the running for Best New York Shakespeare Exchange Portrayal of a Medieval Monarch Named John in the Past Year

[5] Earl of Salisbury, King John, a role for which he notably won the heart of The Mick from the craptacular.

[6] Swear to God they’re not actually related, though you’d believe me if I said they were.

[7] Last seen as Various Heartsick Lovers in the past two pub crawls

[8]

[9] Wept and wailed over her son as Constance in King John. This time there’s similar parental angst, but less railing and more babbling

[10] Died onstage in her past two productions with us. We promised we’d let her live this time (or did we???).

[11] Wooed by Cyrano in last month’s pub crawl.

[12] Yeah Acting Interns!

[13] Ibid.

[14] Dealt with some tough issues as Blanche in King John. Deals with tough issues here, too...in drag.

15]  Brewer, Kevin. Island; or, To Be or Not to Be. 1999-2012. Popularly known as "Write as many damned footnotes as you want, Brewer, as long as I never have to try to write anything like this again."