Carrie Edel Isaacman makes SPORT of Shakespeare

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IMG_0266.JPGCarrie Edel Isaacman’s theatrical troupe earns its name this fall by presenting a double header: The Tempest in Brooklyn and then, Park to Park, with Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Shakespeare Sports celebrates The Bard’s first and the last for its 2019 Classical Season with The Tempest – Shakespeare’s final play – running August 20, 28, and 29 at 7:00 p.m. as part of the Brick’s Shakespeare in the Theatre Festival. Carrie Edel Isaacman’s futuristic production is part of the celebrated Brooklyn theatre’s own annual classical event. The Brick is located at 579 Metropolitan Ave in Brooklyn. Take the L to Lorimer or the G to Metropolitan. The festival runs August 12 – 31, 2019.

Tickets will be available at the Brick Theater website at www.bricktheater.com on the August calendar. Partial tickets cost will be donated to Citizen Schools.

Then Shakespeare Sports will do a FREE SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK tour of Bill’s beginning bow on the stage; Shakespeare’s first play, Two Gentlemen of Verona, performing in Queens, Upper New York, and Central Park. That’s four Parks for the Two Gents.

Starting August 20, Isaacman and her merry band will present the far-flung fantasy, The Tempest, to end the summer before ushering in autumn with Two Gentlemen of Verona, the Bard’s first romance of mistaken identity.

From September 26 through October 27, Shakespeare Sports will tell the story of Julia – in love with Proteus – disguising herself as a young man and follows Proteus to the Duke of Milan’s court. There, Proteus and his friend, Valentine meet the Duke’s daughter, Silvia, and instantly they BOTH fall for her. Let the games begin!

The free outside showings will be at Athens Square Park in Queens; Dongan Park and Billings Lawn (both in Fort Tryon Park); Summit Rock Park in Manhattan’s Central Park alongside the original Shakespeare in the Park. Production edited to 90 minutes.

Carrie Edel Isaacman left the mysterious island where Joe Crow Ryan (pictured below), who is playing Prospero in The Tempest at The Brick lives, to share a few magical words about the Bard.

 

Joe Crow Ryan - Prospero.jpeg

 

What is the value of Shakespeare in the 21st Century? 

When I first started gaining interest in Shakespeare it was with the connections from Shakespeare’s story to the characters living in present day.  I became very focused on drawing comparisons from Shakespeare’s stories to present day and really was most entertained by that. As I became more involved in a bigger picture of a full play and directing, I needed to know more about not only the sources but what Shakespeare’s intention was in writing a play. In the past year, I started reading essays in order to research history and sources of plays and I was starting to prepare to direct. In teaching, I mostly focus on the story that is on the page.  Sometimes students find value in drawing their own connections from present day to Shakespeare’s play.  The value of Shakespeare in the 21st century is looking at one’s own connection to the text because everyone has their own connection and interpretation.  And from that is research and life lessons.

In the case of The Tempest, which will be at the Brick in August: The value of Shakespeare’s Tempest in the 21st Century is asking the question: ‘What is my own Tempest?  What of my own ancestors left their own land and then looked for freedom and then what does freedom mean to my ancestors?  Is it an internal freedom or freedom from the land?’  And other questions include: ‘What were Shakespeare’s sources for The Tempest?’ 

In the case of Two Gentlemen of Verona, touring in NYC Parks in September and October, the play shows a lot of what may be important to young people and friendship at the end of the play.  Surely these are things that are universal and timeless.

In both cases: There again,the value is in drawing a connection of the action of the main actions of the play and Shakespeare’s intention and in the case of The Tempest a person needs to pay attention to world history.  So again the value is in examining history through research and then in presenting the questions through a play for an audience to then go out into the world and share questions with family and community.

How do you feel about interpretation and variation? Editing? Production scheme? Casting choices? 

I believe in editing when needed according to production.  One example of working with editing choices is when I was working on preparing to submit a choice of a Shakespeare play to Shakespeare in the Theater.  The Shakespeare in the Theater requires that companies have a version of Shakespeare’s play that is edited to be shorter so that several shows can play at a certain time in the early evening and accommodate for another company that evening.  Based upon my experience of watching the show last year I noticed that most companies had a version that was edited to 90 minutes, which was my choice in an edited version.

Regarding The Tempest: I borrowed a script from Tara and Javen Tanner that edited the text to approximately 80 pages, edited to accommodate for settings where the play needs to be shorter.   Most of the language was Shakespeare’s except in a few cases, and I put back in Shakespeare’s language from a source that is closes to first folio.  

Regarding casting, most of the casting is according to Shakespeare’s pronouns except in a few cases, and some of the choices had to do with actors availability.  If I needed to cast a female instead of a male I changed the pronouns in the editing.

And there are some casting choices that I made with regards to Caliban and Ariel that are more modern and important for this cast.

Regarding Two Gentlemen of Verona: Two Gentlemen of Verona” whose text was edited by actor and director Michael Hagins, kept Shakespeare’s language and added in stage directions.

Do YOU believe that there is only one Shakespeare or does the conspiracy theory have validity?

Only one Shakespeare existed.  There is evidence in some of the plays that he collaborated with other playwrites, for example as in Two Noble Kinsmen with Fletcher.

 

As You Like It Photo.JPG
Members of the Shakespeare Sports rep of Tempest & Two Gents in last year’s As You Like It: (from left to right) Brian Arya, Kaitlin Creed, Sabrina Seidner, Steven Makropoulos, Kasper Kuzmicki, Stephanay Slade, Michael Hagins, Charles, William, Joe Crow Ryan, and Carrie Isaacman

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