Simply Shakespeare, Saveth the Date!

Simply Shakespeare Dec 2015


Independent Shakespeare Co. produces Original Play, Strange Eventful History


Erika Soto, Sam Breen, and David Melville star in Strange Eventful History. Photo by Reynaldo Macias/blu PHIV Photography

Independent Shakespeare Co. presents an original studio production, Strange Eventful History, by David Melville, William Shakespeare, and Christopher Marlowe, beginning October 22 in the Independent Studio in Atwater Village.

In the new work, an actor (David Melville) is preparing to play Richard III in a rapidly approaching production. Unfortunately, his leading lady just quit, and her replacement (Erika Soto) doesn’t have the faintest idea what’s happening. Adding to the confusion, the director is nowhere to be found and his stage manager (Sam Breen) has it in for him. As the three characters wrestle with the complicated family soap opera that is the history of England’s royalty, they uncover truths about Shakespeare’s kings (and queens) and bring the history plays to life.

Directed by ISC company member Joseph Culliton, the play interweaves the works of Shakespeare and Marlowe with new, scripted narrative, Strange Eventful History is a humorous and vivid ride through 10 plays and 150 years of British war.

October 22 – November 22, 2015 (opening night (10/24)
Independent Shakespeare Co.
Independent Studio
3191 Casitas Ave. #168
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Photo Flash: The Porters Bring Back Breaking Bard

The Porters of Hellsgate’s Breaking Bard, now playing at the Whitmore Lindley Theatre, 11006 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601. Click Here for tickets. For more about The Porters go to

Gus Krieger and Jesse James Thomas. Photos by Zachary Andrews

Gus Krieger and Jesse James Thomas. Photos by Zachary Andrews

Skyler's revenge 2

Gus Krieger and Kate O’Toole

Breaking Bard

Dana DeRuyck and Jesse James Thomas


Review: Four Clowns Reinvents Hamlet in their Latest Shakespearean Soiree

Four Clowns Presents Hamlet

L-R: Connor Kelly-Eiding, Andrew Eiden, Corey Johnson, and Charlotte Chanler. Photo by Zach Steel

It’s a little uncanny how easily Shakespeare’s tragedy lends itself to reinvention by a troupe of clowns and still communicates the full measure of the poet’s intent, yet that is exactly what happens in Fours Clowns Presents Hamlet, a guest production at The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. To director Turner Munch’s credit, not only does he understand the funny – of which there is plenty in this production – he also knows how to play it off against its polar opposite to create palpable dramatic tension. And he does it with surprising finesse.

This is Shakespeare for people who hate Shakespeare, and for those who love it, for purists and dilettantes, and anyone who wants to see a story told with humor and creativity. More than anything, the 90-minute production is simply a great night at the theatre.

It helps to have a cast who plays full out, at times heartbreakingly so. You expect it to be funny (it’s clowns for goodness sake) but when the moment spins on a dime and lands a stupefying blow to your gut or your heart, that’s when you appreciate how the play has truly become the proverbial putty in their hands.

Hamlet (an excellent Andrew Eidon) on his mother and stepfather’s leash becomes Hamlet on a lunacy bender once the red nose goes on. And just when you think he can’t push the madness any further he pivots into a scene with the fair Ophelia (sweetly played by Elizabeth Godley) that is as delicate and touching as you’d find in any serious production. How the actors realize these scenes is often so beautiful and revelatory that I don’t want to lessen the delight you’ll experience in the moment by going into detail here. Suffice it to say that by extracting the essence of a scene and physicalizing it they are able to use a minimal amount of Shakespeare’s text to tell the story. “Brevity is the soul of wit” is a mantra that this company knows well.

Dave Honigman and Tyler Bremer are the skillful clowns who redefine the phrase “dopey puppy” as Hamlet’s deceptive friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Connor Kelly-Eiding brings an endearing innocence to her role as the huggy Horatio. Each actor is well-matched to his or her character yet it is Joe DeSoto’s wild-eyed, expressive Ghost you’re most likely to remember. Play along. Have fun. This kind of Shakespeare never gets old.

Just as delightful is the way the technical and design elements are integrated into the storytelling and used as building blocks for the action: Elena Flores (costumes, hair & make-up), Alexandra Giron (set and props), Mcleod Benson (lighting), Matt MacCready (technical design), an uncredited but terrific sound design, and Matt Franta’s fight choreography all have exceptional moments.

Sept 18 – Oct 10, 2015
Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
1238 West 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Tickets: (562) 508-1788 or
Show runs under 90 minutes with no intermission

Shakespeare’s Guide to Parenting, a new book by James Andrews

Shakespeare's Guide to ParentingParenting Tips from William Shakespeare? Why not! In this witty new book from James Andrews, you’ll find all the advice you need for any parenting dilemma. The handy collection draws solutions from Shakespeare’s most beloved works, from Hamlet to King Lear to Much Ado About Nothing to the Sonnets, extracting lines that hilariously illustrate the answer to any parenting problem. After all, he did have three children of his own. For example…

Your thirsty toddler wakes you up at 3AM. Shakespeare describes your thoughts perfectly:

“What cursed foot wanders this way tonight?” –Romeo and Juliet

Your son throws a booze party, crashes the car, or commits some other vaguely humiliating infraction or minor illegal act. Shakespeare feels your pain:

“Good wombs have borne bad sons.” –The Tempest

Organized by periods from newborn nightmares to teenage trials, Shakespeare’s Guide to Parenting is a must for every literary parent or parent-to-be. If you want the last word with your kids, nothing beats a quote from Shakespeare.

Available by pre-order now. On sale November 10, 2015.

by James Andrews
On Sale: November 10, 2015
ISBN: 9780062442512
ISBN 10: 0062442511
Dey Street Books, An Imprint of HarperCollins
Hardcover or E-book
List Price: 19.99/9.99
160 Pages
Click Here to purchase

Review: “Shakespeare’s Last Night Out.” More than just a Simple Tavern Musical

Shakespeare's Last Night Out

This one act play with music was the surprise of my weekend. Not because of what I already knew about it, of course, based on press materials and previous word of mouth from friends who saw it at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, but because of something no one had thought to mention. That for all its rowdy comedy, bawdy innuendo and drunken delights, Michael Shaw Fisher has written, and performs, a piece that reveals Shakespeare’s heart in moments of genuine vulnerability making it more than simply a passing fringe fancy. This one man 75-minute Elizabethan tavern musical could easily tour the country in every intimate venue, educational setting, pub or cabaret house smart enough to book it.

Fisher’s sharp writing, impeccable storytelling, and comedic timing aren’t a surprise given that we’ve previously seen fringe musicals like Exorcistic: The Rock Musical Parody Experiment, Doomsday Cabaret, and The Werewolves of Hollywood Blvd showcase his irreverent wit. But taking on Shakespeare means stepping into some pretty big historical boots and the question is always, is the actor up to the task. Yes, my friends. Yes, he is.  More

Los Angeles Drama Club Invites Students into The World of Shakespeare

LA Drama Club world of shakespeare

Students are invited to join Los Angeles Drama Club this fall to study the foundation of the club’s classic Improv classes with characters, stories, and language of William Shakespeare.
In these after school classes (Sept 30 – Nov 18), students will explore Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Macbeth, and create an original piece telling the story through movement and Shakespeare’s test.

The Los Angeles Drama Club has successfully built an ongoing artistic community of children and youth who, through the creative process of “putting on a play” have found a passion, a purpose, and a safe place to express themselves and gain self-worth from their collective accomplishments. Class participants tell stories, decode the language, improvise, role play, and rehearse. All this culminates in a public performance on November 22. Through these practices, the students organically develop a personal relationship with the play and its characters while building literacy, communication skills, self-esteem and a strong community spirit.

September 30 – November 18, 2015 (Classes)
Wednesdays (4:00 – 5:30 pm)
Sunday, November 22, 2015 (Performance)
Fais Do Do – 5253 W. Adams Blvd
Pay-what-you-can (suggested donation – $100.00)
Click Here for more information and to register.

From Green to Groovy: Nicole Parker gets a ’60s Makeover for These Paper Bullets!

Nicole Parker

Nicole Parker stars opposite Justin Kirk in the west coast premiere of These Paper Bullets! A Modish Ripoff of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at Geffen Playhouse this month. Written by Rolin Jones (Weeds, Friday Night Lights, Boardwalk Empire) with songs by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and directed by Jackson Gay, the show opened to great reviews at Yale Repertory Theatre where it premiered in 2014. Now the Geffen begins its 20th anniversary season with what promises to be a British invasion on stage not seen since the Beatles. Still high on the adrenaline of a full day of rehearsal, an energetic Parker spoke to me about her experience working on the new production. I think you’ll see why the former star of Wicked and MADtv landed the role. This is one all-around great gal.

Nicole, what has it been like working on a brand new show like this one?

What’s great about working on something new is, while the creative team has done a version of the show before, they’ve made sure we know, as the new actors to the piece, that we can make it our own. That’s something you never get when you’re plugging into a show that already exists where you really need to hit the marks and you can give it your own flair but it needs to be what it is. This show isn’t set. Even from a comedic standpoint, I won’t even know whether some things I’m doing will work until we get in front of an audience and they tell me.

Both you and your leading man, Justin Kirk, are new, right?

Correct, which is kind of cool because then we as a couple can find a whole new rhythm. The entire team is so supportive and really just happy to have another opportunity to work on the show and make it better. So many times you don’t get to do that. When you do, it’s all about really defining the story and making sure that it gets told even clearer.

Nicole and Justin

What are your overall impressions of the piece?

It’s really a new, unique hybrid show. Even though the songs Billie Joe has written are stand-alone Beatles-esque songs, they drive the show and fit what’s going on in the plot. In that sense, where a musical will forward plot or character with a song, or even heighten an emotion, it is similar. But it’s only done in a very realistic way with the band – in this case they’re called The Quartos – singing their songs.  More

New Play, Outspoken: Shakespeare in Shackles, Premieres in Hollywood

Outspoken Shakespeare in Shackles

Outspoken: Shakespeare in Shackles will premiere at Studio C Artists on Hollywood’s Theatre Row September 25, 2015. Written by Blaire Baron Larsen, Outspoken was workshopped in 2014 at the Los Angeles Drama Club, where Larsen serves as Artistic Director. From there, Michael Sonntag of Studio C invited a partnership so the play could be further developed under director Esdras Toussaint.

The play was inspired by one of London’s notorious medieval prisons, one which was situated around the corner from the original Globe Theatre. In Medieval London, mothers were tossed in the Clink alongside murderers, their children sent out to beg for money to pay the Jailor. In the mix were drunks, debtors, priests, political dissidents – anyone caught speaking against the Powers that Be.

Characters from Shakespeare’s canon (crossing the time/space continuum) come together in Outspoken as the play explores themes of classism and oppression using humor, compassion and camaraderie. Each character grows to understand their fellow prisoners as they re-enact the defining moment (in the actual Shakespeare play) that put them here – usually because they were too… outspoken.

Falstaff, Doll Tearsheet, Joan of Arc, the ghosts of Juliet and Hamlet, and less celebrated characters such as Kent (King Lear) and Paulina (Winter’s Tale) and Jack Cade (Henry VI) attempt to stay alive in the story. If a prisoner cannot pay the Jailor, they are thrown in the “Hole” to die unless and until their fee is covered.

The international cast includes Anniwaa Buachie, J. Bailey Burcham, Michael Edelstein, Will Gressman, Juliette Millar (age 13 as Juliet), Brandon Nagle, Kila Packett, Julia Walker-Wyson, Edmund Wyson, and the author, Blaire Baron Larsen.

The 75-minute play runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. For more about Los Angeles Drama Club go

September 25 – October 17, 2015
Studio C Artists/Los Angeles Drama Club
6448 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Shakespeare’s Last Night Out Returns September 11 to Three Clubs Lounge

Shakespeare's Last Night Out

After conquering the Hollywood Fringe Festival yet again, Michael Shaw Fisher returns with his award-winning solo musical, Shakespeare’s Last Night Out. On the night before his death, William Shakespeare goes out for a drink (or more) and reflects on his hardscrabble origins, his eventual success, his stormy marriage, his children, the loss of his son, his extramarital temptations, his plays, his predictions of challenges to the authorship of his works.
And this Shakespeare sings.

Directed by Jeff Sumner and starring Michael Shaw Fisher, this is an extension of the show that won Top of Fringe and Best Solo Performance at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival from Fisher’s Orgasmico Theatre Company. Previous productions by Fisher include Doomsday Cabaret, Exorcistic, and Barking Pig, all of which won Hollywood Fringe Festival Awards in the years during which they were produced. Musical accompaniment is by Gordon Wimpress and Allison Sulock.

Get thee to the club. That is all.

Shakespeare’s Last Night Out (or What? YOU, Will??)
September 11 – November 1, 2015
Orgasmico Theatre Company
Three Clubs Lounge, 1123 N. Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90038.
Tickets: (800) 838-3006 ext. 1 or Click Here
5 pm performances are suitable for all ages. All other performances are for 21 and over (because Three Clubs is a bar).

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