Long Beach Shakespeare Company Plans a Month-long Shakespeare Celebration

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Long Beach Shakespeare Company kicks off Shakespeare’s birthday month beginning this weekend with the return of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). The three lewd, but lovely, ladies from last year’s production are back, bawdier and more hilarious than ever, with new gags, stunts, costumes and set design. March 28 – April 6. Tickets are $10. (Not suitable for young children.)

On April 11 and 12, LBSC presents Fractured Shakespeare, a one-man play in which Mark Twain discusses his ideas on who wrote Shakespeare’s plays, adapted from Twain’s “Is Shakespeare Dead.” No matter which side of the authorship question you’re on, this is a humorous and thought-provoking presentation, starring LBSC’s Man of a Thousand Voices, Carl Wawrina.

A staged reading of Richard Armour’s Twisted Tales from Shakespeare will take place on April 25 and 26. Born in San Pedro in 1906, Richard Armour attended Pomona College and then Harvard University. He studied with the eminent Shakespearean scholar George Lyman Kittredge, and obtained a Ph.D. in English philology. Twisted Tales From Shakespeare is a series of short pieces, filled with puns and plays on words, given in lecture style, providing a comic overview of some of the Bard’s best-known plays. The evening will especially comfort those who have been forced to sit through dull classes in Shakespeare in high school or college.

Two events will be part of LBSC’s Shakespeare Speaker Series. On April 13, Lloyd Kermode and Martine van Elk, professors of English at California State University Long Beach, and co-directors of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at CSULB, will present Shakespeare on Stage and Page. They will discuss topics such as: How were plays performed in Shakespeare’s England; What did audiences expect from a production in Shakespeare’s lifetime; What do the printed texts that we read now tell us (and not tell us) about Shakespeare? A reception with the professors will follow the presentation.

Then on April 27, Louis Fantasia presents King Lear or Survivor – Tragedy in The Age of Oprah, designed for new-comers to and veteran fans of Shakespeare and King Lear. Fantasia will discuss why tragedy, and King Lear in particular, needs no “updating” or “re-imagining” for contemporary audiences. What it has to say about individual choice, relationships, love, shame, and behavior resonates as deeply today as when it was written…and is, perhaps, more needed in this time, when our lives are so influenced by television and pop culture. Fantasia is the author of Instant Shakespeare, Tragedy in the Age of Oprah (about the relationship between classical tragedy and popular culture), and is currently at work on Talking Shakespeare, a collection of essays on Shakespeare’s plays.

To celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23, LBSC partners with World Book Night U.S. to give away a FREE copy of the Shakespeare Sonnets to each person in attendance. The actors will perform selected sonnets, followed by a reception with cake and beverages to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. World Book Night U.S. is a non-profit campaign launched in the UK in 2011 and in the U.S. in 2012, that empowers book givers to give out a half million new books, all on one day, to light or non-readers. Many of the book recipients are also without the means or access to printed books by virtue of income or geography.

For more information about Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s season and special events, go to http://lbshakespeare.org/.


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