Shakespeare at the Orchestra

Dear readers,

Earlier this semester, I received a lovely stroke of serendipity. It started with being on the look-out for a hobby, now that a dissertation deadline and need for a livelihood no longer consumes my every endeavour. Having been a music major many moons ago, I thought returning to my instrument would help provide some balance. One of my students mentioned that our university orchestra was short a clarinet. Before I knew it, I was back in rehearsals again.

What I couldn’t believe was what had already been selected for our program: all works that had been inspired by the plays of William Shakespeare. At Pacific University, many of the music performances are “concerts that teach,” which means they include multimodal, interdisciplinary elements and a pre-concert hour to connect the learning of the instruments with learning out their content.

To celebrate Shakespeare’s 400—which nearly all major universities and theatres have been doing this year, such as this other Chicago project in which I’ve been involved—the orchestra had me compile brief excerpts, including a playlet from Romeo & Juliet, to be performed by theatre students in between each of our pieces. This included a traditional English wedding speech as well as Shakespeare’s sonnet 29.

It was a cool event, and in doing so, I realize we surely weren’t the first ensemble in need of a coherent excerpt from Romeo & Juliet to demonstrate each of the major motifs in the Tchaikovsky overture of the same name. Therefore, I make available here the script of the performance, which pairs nicely with orchestral works influenced by William Shakespeare. As a collaborative project between the departments of English, Music, Theatre & Dance at Pacific University, please feel free to use this material with attribution, approved as a free cultural work.

If you use this material at your school or organization, I would be interested to know! I’d also be interested in any revisions or additions you might recommend, as well as photos or recordings of your productions.

Many thanks,

October Blogroll: Theatre in the Grove

Dear readers,

I find myself in the fortunate circumstance of find my new university offers more local theatre than I can hardly manage to fit into my schedule. A number of events are being put on as an a means to meditate on the recent violence in our country and the election year.

I hope you’ll join me!

Broken Promises
  • Who: Center for Gender Equality, Pacific University.
  • What: Desperate for money, four teens living on the edge gamble their lives on internet porn and prostitution. Before Adriana knows it, she is trapped in a life she cannot escape from: or can she? Broken Promises is a theatrical production set amidst the backdrop of urban Latin hip hop music, rhyme, and choreography.
  • Where: Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center.
  • When: Thursday, October 20, at 7PM.
  • Cost: Free.
The Good Woman of Setzuan
  • Who: Theatre & Dance department, Pacific University.
  • What: In a time of corruption and competition run amok, the gods visit the city of Setzuan in search of at least one good person. Their encounter with Shen Te, a gentle and naive young woman, allows them to go on believing that there is hope for humankind. Left to her own devices among her desperate and demanding neighbors, however, Shen Te must learn to be cunning in order to survive.
  • Where: Tom Miles Theatre, Warner Hall.
  • When: Friday and Saturday, October 21 and 22, at 7:30PM; Sunday, October 23, at 2PM; and Thursday through Saturday, October 27 through 29, at 7:30PM.
  • Cost: $5-$8, and may be purchased online here.
Hands Up
  • Who: Center for Peace and Spirituality, Pacific University.
  • What: The play features the perspectives of seven African-American playwrights that explore their feelings about the well-being of black people in a culture of institutional profiling.
  • Where: Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center.
  • When: 2PM and 7:30PM on Saturday, October 22, and at 2PM on Sunday, October 23.
  • Cost: Free; tickets are required and can be obtained online here.