Louis Fantasia Discusses Shakespeare’s Baleful Weeds and Precious-juiced Flowers

Baleful Weeds

Here’s a unique opportunity to learn about the importance of flowers and plants in Shakespeare’s plays. The SCHAS Daylily and Bulb Society presents Louis Fantasia in “Baleful Weeds and Precious-juiced Flowers” – a discussion of Elizabethans and their relationship with plants and flowers. The lecture will take place at 10:00 am on Saturday, March 16 at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden’s Palm Room. Admission is free to first-time guests.

Flowers and plants were important to Shakespeare and other Elizabethan and early modern English writers on three levels: plot, symbol, and signifier. In plays as diverse as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo & Juliet the “juice” of plants form essential plot points, whether it is transforming lovers’ eyes or feigning death. On the level of signifier, the most obvious examples are the White and Red roses of the History plays, denoting the houses of Lancaster and York. And in Henry V, a leek is used to signify a Welshman. As symbol, the Elizabethan trope was that “the beauty of the rose was in its passing” – the first bloom of love or buds of youth would inevitably fade, leaving, in the words of Shakespeare Sonnet 73, “bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.” 

Louis Fantasia is currently Chair of the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the New York Film Academy (Hollywood campus), and Director of Shakespeare at the Huntington, the teacher training institute of the Huntington Library, Art Galleries and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. He has taught at the Juilliard School and the USC School of Theatre, the London Theatre School (Head of Acting and Director of Studies) and Schiller College-Europe University (Chair and Artistic Director of Theatre Programs). From 1988 to 2002, he was Education Director of the Shakespeare Globe Centre’s Western Region and ran the Globe’s actor/director training programs in London. In 2003, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg named the theatre collection at its library in the European Parliament in honor of Louis Fantasia, who holds both U.S. and European Union passports. In 2007, he served as President of Deep Springs College. His second book, Tragedy in the Age of Oprah, will be published by Scarecrow Press in 2013.

Baleful Weeds and Precious-juiced Flowers
Southern California Hemerocallis & Amaryllis Society
L.A. County Arboretum & Botanic Garden – Palm Room
301 North Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91007
Click Here for more information about the Society.

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