Report on The Last Ekphrasis

IMG_3748Last night we enjoyed one another’s company for the last time — at least, it was the last time that Ekphrasis will gather under my auspices with its regular purpose of sharing and critique, since I’m moving to Texas to start my PhD at Baylor. It was a magnificent meeting! There were food and flowers, hilarity and drama, literature and art. In attendance were myself, Sharon G, Devon W, Eric M, Richard B, Curt D, Laura W, Andrew S MacD, Betsy G, Jeff H, Amanda L, and two newcomers, Thaina D and Diante R.

Even though it was a sort of a going-away shindig, it was really just an ordinary hard-working meeting. Lots of people shared excellent work.

IMG_3744(1)At the beginning of the meeting, Thaina and Devon shared the hot-off-the-press Spring 2016 issue of Xanadu, Lehigh Carbon Community College’s literary magazine. Thaina and Devon, along with Diante, are student editors of the magazine this semester, and I’ve been a faculty adviser to it for six years. This semester’s may have been the most professional issue of the magazine we’ve ever produced: the design is streamlined and debonair. Diante has a poem published in it; Thaina has a few poems and several pieces of prose.

indexThen Sharon G read another chapter of her Robin Hood novel adaptation, Mercy and Justice. This chapter included a sad story of a poor, cast-off, single, expectant mother, helped by Marian and Robin, which was a good way of revealing their compassionate character. Sharon has completed about half of this novel and hopes to draft the rest of it this fall, after finishing her current novel-in-progress, Chrysalis!

13184680_1014038361966917_2053915199_oRichard B and Eric M each showed pieces of their artwork. Richard is writing and illustrating a comic book starring his Jack Windsword character. Eric is working on drawings he’ll bring to the Baltimore Comic Con. Their work is somewhat similar–both depict heroes, villians, mythic, archetypal characters with bold lines and swift action–but their techniques are quite different. The black-and-white image to the right is from Richard’s book. The colored images below from Star Wars and Star Trek are some of Eric’s works of art.

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Then we moved into a sort of stage-like area we had set up, in order to watch several theatrical scenes.

First up was a stage adaptation of a bit from a Brandon Sanderson novel, by Betsy G. It was a scene packed with secondary-world-building, lots of neologisms and names and cultural references. In it, an experienced con artist is teaching her apprentice how to fool her potential victims by posing as a foreign princess. The prize? Her dupe’s boots. 13184742_935769666536853_1112604979_o

Next up was a selection from Jeff H’s recent full-length adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, which was recently produced by Players of the Stage. This scene was Toad on trial for causing a motor car accident–which is really just a cover for his enemies to lock him up and take his ancestral mansion.

Then came my short play, Galatea Awakes, which I wrote for my creative writing class at LCCC, and from which I previously posted a selection. It’s a retelling of the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, and I’m exploring themes of the artist’s isolation and relationships, the idea of the art as a child, issues of voyeurism and objectification, questions about the nature of beauty, etc. It was admirably performed by Richard, Andrew, and Sharon, and much hilarity ensued–sometimes when it wasn’t in the script, such as when Pygmalion whispers to his animated statue to “scroll down, scroll down” for him so he can read his script!

We got to see another play from my creative writing class, too: this one by Thaina. It is a side-splittingly funny drama entitled Why Deals With the Devil Never Work (And You Should Always Read the Fine Print). I’ll give you just a tiny snippet here to give you an idea of how funny it is:

ASH: Look man, I just really want my soul back. Please? Pretty please? Have a heart.
SATAN: What part of Lucifer, Demon, King of Hell, do you not understand?
ASH: I know you’re Satan and all, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk!
SATAN: Do you listen to yourself when you speak?
ASH: Hm? Of course I do! My soul is gone, not my hearing!

Yup, it’s all like that. With a great twist at the end.

And we were treated to a performance of a powerful slam poem by Diante, a tale of troubles and salvation. It is meant to become his final project for Creative Writing class.

Finally, Laura W ended our evening with a mind-boggling 2-min mystery: a piece of flash fiction in 500 words. Since Laura won most of the weeks of Signum University’s “Almost an Inkling” flash fiction contest, you won’t be surprised to hear that it was magnificent!

There were some amazing conversations, too, about the “Artist-as-inspired-romantic-genius” myth, about the use of profanity and taking the Lord’s name in writing and drama, about anachronism and style and craft. These are the talks on which my soul feeds.

So, yes: a fitting ending for, what, eight years, I think, of Ekphrasis meetings. I’ll miss you guys, and I hope you carry on!

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Galatea Awakes: A Play

PygmalionFranzStuckI wrote a ten-minute play. Here’s the first bit. Enjoy!

GALATEA AWAKES
a one-act play
by Sørina Higgins

CHARACTERS

PYGMALION                         A sculptor
ONESIMUS                            His assistant
GALATEA                              A statue

SETTING
Pygmalion’s studio. Maybe on Cyprus, maybe anyplace.

TIME
At the height of the Greek Empire. Or anytime, really.

___________________________________________________________________________

                                                SCENE I

(PYGMALION is working away at the statue of GALATEA, polishing it with a cloth.)

                                                PYGMALION
Here comes my comic relief. Now I won’t get any more work done today.

(Enter ONESIMUS.)

                                                ONESIMUS
Good morning, boss! Isn’t it a lovely—
(he gasps)
Is she finished?!

                                                PYGMALION
Not quite. It’s nearly complete, though. I’ll finish today.

(He stands back from the statue. They admire it from a distance, walking around as they talk.)

                                                ONESIMUS
She’s… she’s unearthly. No, that’s not the right word. Maybe if I stand on my head I can think of it.

                                                PYGMALION
As long as you’re out of the way when you stand on your head, I don’t care what you do. I have to polish it, and then it’s done. It’s good, isn’t it?

                                                ONESIMUS
Good!?! It’s divine! No, that’s not the right word either. Curse my memory; I can barely remember my own name. At least I don’t forget what life is for: food, drink, girls…. You seem to have forgotten those exist, boss. Now, what’s the word for her?

                                                PYGMALION
‘Perfect’? Is that it?

                                                ONESIMUS
No… I mean, oops, sorry. Sure, it’s a perfect work of art, no question there. You’ve outdone yourself. You’ll go down in history for this masterpiece! Can I get your autograph? Can I have a lock of your hair, or the finger-bone of your left pinky? I’ll sell it in my old age and retire rich.
(tries to grab PYGMALION’s hand; he slaps it away)
Or I’ll steal your statue and sell that. It’s sheer genius. But the girl herself? She is…hm. I don’t know.

                                                PYGMALION
Beautiful. Ideal.

                                                ONESIMUS
Well, she is a looker, I’ll give you that.

                                                (he moves towards the statue, dreamily, hand outstretched)

                                                PYGMALION
Stop! Don’t touch it! You know you’re not allowed to touch the sculptures!

                                                ONESIMUS
I… I forgot for a moment that she was a sculpture. I’m sorry, boss.
(snapping out of his daydream and stepping away)
But you know how I am with the ladies! They can’t resist me; I can’t resist them! Why, just today in the market, this flower-seller, she says to me—

                                                PYGMALION
It’s just a lump of marble, Onesimus, no matter how it’s shaped. No need to get worked up over it.

                                                ONESIMUS
I know. But somehow…. Pygmalion? Why do you call her ‘it’?

                                                PYGMALION
What?

                                                ONESIMUS
Why do you call your beautiful statue ‘it’? Why don’t you call her ‘her’? After all, I remember your sculpture of the young Achilles; you always called that ‘him.’ Remember those early days? You were always mooning about the studio—I mean, oops, sorry. I’m sure you were thinking deep artistic thoughts—but you were talking about ‘him’ or ‘he’ all the time like a girl cooing over her lover.

                                                PYGMALION
Ha ha. Very funny. Well, that was long ago. I am grown up now. No mooning over a piece of stone, or a girl, or a lover.

Pygmalion-And-Galatea1

Sharon’s #3DNC: Scene 1

Sharon wrote an entire play over the Three-Day Novel weekend! Here is scene one of Love’s Labours Happily Ever After

 

ACT [1]

SCENE [1]

(The field surrounding PRINCE KIT’S castle. The entrance to the castle is UR. PRINCE KIT is preset gripping a glass slipper. PHILIP and EUGENE enter dejectedly. PHILIP is helping the blind EUGENE, who is holding a long braid of golden hair. They take a few steps, unbeknownst to KIT, and EUGENE’s feet gets tangled in the hair, causing him to trip and fall to the ground. The noise gets the attention of KIT.)

PHILIP:

(helping EUGENE stand)

Are you alright?

EUGENE:

Fine, fine. Who’d have known something so pretty could get you so tangled up? Must be why people tell you to stay out of their hair.

PHILIP:

I wish you’d let me carry it for you.

EUGENE:

No. No, thank you. I can manage, but maybe we should wrap it round like a scarf or something.

KIT:

Welcome, travelers. Where do you come from?

EUGENE:

Who’s that?

PHILIP:

Prince Kit if I’m not mistaken. It’s an honor to meet you, Your Highness. I am Prince Philip, son of King Hubert.

EUGENE:

Eugene.

KIT:

You look worn and weary. What brings you to my kingdom?

EUGENE:

Philip.

PHILIP:

We seek refuge, Your Highness. Strange things are happening in our lands, and we both have suffered great loss. The entire castle of my betrothed has been put under an enchanted sleep. Rumor has it that she has hired an evil fairy to cast the sleeping spell so that she would avoid marrying me. I met Eugene as I tried to search for her. He was stumbling in the forest from a newfound blindness that had been inflicted upon him for pursuit of the woman who once bore the weight of that hair.

KIT:

Why do you not go to the land of your father?

PHILIP:

He too is under the spell.

(PRINCE FERDINAND enters carrying an apple with one bite taken out of it.)

FERDINAND:

Well met, gentle friends! It is beyond hope, but is there any chance that you know the whereabouts, the most glorious whereabouts, of my true love whose beauty is beyond compare? Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.

PHLIP:

What is her name, sir?

FERDINAND: (pause)

In truth I don’t know. I was so caught up in the life changing moment of meeting her, that I didn’t ask her name.

EUGENE:

But she’s your true love?

FERDINAND:

The moment I saw her one love possessed me, thrilling me, and now my heart keeps singing of my one love, constant and true, only of her.

EUGENE:

How come you don’t know where she is if your love is so constant?

FERDINAND:

(holding up the apple)

Do you see this?

EUGENE:

No.

PHILIP:

It’s an apple, with a bite taken out of it.

FERDINAND:

Yes. A dreadful, fateful bite has taken my love from me. After our hearts joined across the stone courtyard, she disappeared. I’ve been in search for her ever since. Finally, I heard of a woman with lips red as the rose, hair as black as ebony, and skin white as snow that was enshrined in a coffin wrought by skilled dwarves, waiting for a prince to break an evil spell cast upon her. A long journey lay ahead of me, but I was spurred on by the hope that she – my true love – was waiting for me to free her.

EUGENE:

Let me guess, she wasn’t waiting for you.

FERDINAND:

Alas, no. When I arrived the Dwarves told me that she and the coffin had disappeared. The only thing they had left was this apple, the cause of her demise.

KIT:

It was a ruse. A ruse to wound you and leave you alone.

FERDINAND:

A ruse? Who are you to say such slander against my true love?

KIT:

Prince Philip has a tale of a woman going to desperate tactics to prevent wooing. I too could tell my own tale of feminine jilting, and I imagine this man has a similar story –

EUGENE: (interrupting)

Women don’t jilt me. They can’t resist the smolder.

KIT:

It is clear to me that we have been dealt cruel blows under the guise of damsels in distresses. Fate has brought the four of us together to give us an opportunity to learn from our weak-hearted ways. Together, let us forgo the profitless war of love and make war over our passions and desires.

FERDINAND:

A noble quest perhaps?

KIT:

We will devote three years to live in the living art of contemplation.

PHILIP:

But what if the maidens are in fact damsels in distress? Doesn’t it seem strange to you that all the women we have sought after have been unexplainably taken from us.

KIT:

There is nothing unexplainable about a woman running away from you, leaving nothing behind but a glass slipper to haunt you. No, friends. There is no magic involved to explain away the answer.

PHILIP:

And King Stephan’s castle? It may be true that the Princess Aurora herself used magic to keep me away, but what about my father and the other innocents trapped behind the wall of thorns? Do we leave them to their fate?

KIT:

Make this pact with me and I swear we will find a way to free them. Finding a way to overcome the thorns will be a part of our study.

FERDINAND:

I have yet to go on a true quest with companions of valor. I swear to follow you…

KIT:

His Royal Highness, Prince Christoph Henry Edward the 4th. You may call me Prince Kit.

FERDINAND:

I swear to follow you Prince Kit. Till death.

EUGENE:

Three years of contemplation and study isn’t likely to involve dying.

PHILIP:

If you promise to help me free my father from the spell, I’ll give you my oath.

KIT:

(to Eugene)

And you sir?

EUGENE:

Why not?

KIT:

There will be strict rules. No pursuit of romance, no seeing of women, fasting once a week, and little sleep so that we can dedicate ourselves completely to remaking ourselves.

EUGENE:

I hope you mean we’ll be feasting once a week.

FERDINAND:

No, indeed. There is no growth of gallantry without attacking the vice of gluttony.

PHILIP:

It does seem a bit hard. What is the end of this stringent study? Fasting won’t break a spell, will it?

KIT:

To know which else we should not know if we did not study. To be our own masters, free from the torments of women.

EUGENE:

Well then, I swear to study to know the thing I am forbid to know; such as food, sleep, and the torments of women.

FERDINAND:

Will you take back your word? You swore against these things. Have you no sense of honor?

EUGENE:

The way I see it, I swore to three years of contemplation, Kit the 4th here added all the other things afterwards, so I didn’t give my word to any of it.

KIT:

Women, food, and sleep hinder study.

EUGENE:

You need to not put all your arrow in one quiver. Are you really going to give up on love because one woman lost her nerve and a shoe?

KIT:

I won’t be made a fool again. She left me at the ball where I was to choose my bride, the clumsy thief who could not steal a woman’s heart but instead was robbed of his own heart. She left this glass slipper on the steps of my palace as a hope that I would be able to find her again, but the search proved to be a torment.

EUGENE:

Isn’t that a bit dramatic?

PHILIP:

And harsh.

FERDINAND:

Whatever it is, it was beautifully said.

PHILIP:

If you are so intent on forsaking women, why do you keep the slipper with you?

KIT:

To remind myself of the pain that I can avoid by focusing on to pursuit of knowledge rather than the pursuit of love.

EUGENE:

Mind if I hold it? I’ve never heard of a shoe made out of glass before. It’s beyond me how anyone can wear that and not get shards of glass stuck in their foot. I’d like to feel it if you don’t mind.

(KIT hands him the slipper. EUGENE slowly runs his fingers around it.)

Amazing. Not a single sharp edge. This etched design is very intricate.

(He rubs the sides several times trying to get a sense of what the design is)

It feels like… A sword… Maybe?

(There is a poof and a flashing of light. The FAIRY GODMOTHER enters and plops to the ground to sit.)

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

Fairy dust! Give me a moment for my head to stop spinning, then I’ll help you. Right now there are four of you. Best wait until I only see one.

PHILIP:

But Madam, there are four of us.

EUGENE: (whispering)

Who’s there?

PHILIP: (whispering)

A fairy.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

Oh. In that case.

(she stands and brushes herself off. When she catches sight of the glass slipper she snatches it out of EUGENE’S hands.)

Where did you get this?

EUGENE:

From Kit the 4th.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

And where is this Kit that I may inquire of him?

KIT:

I am Prince Kit. Tell me who you are and how you came to be in my kingdom.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

I am a Fairy Godmother and was brought here by the rubbing of this glass slipper, which I demand you explain your possession of it.

KIT:

Do you know the woman who wore this slipper?

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

Know her? I gave her that slipper to attend your ball. What have you done to her?

KIT:

Nothing, besides dance with her. Barely ten minutes had passed before she ran away. This is all she left behind.

EUGENE:

That and his broken heart.

KIT:

I would you were mute instead of blind.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

You must have done something to frighten her off.

KIT:

Nothing, I swear.

PHILIP:

Perhaps you can help us, Madam. We’ve all been separated from our true love.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

Where are they?

 

PHILIP:

We lost them.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

Lost them?

PHILIP:

We’ve lost our true loves.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

Women don’t vanish into thin air.

PHILIP:

But ours have. We each of us have searched for his true love, but all we have left are these trinkets of remembrance.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

A slipper, a bitten apple, and long rope of hair. What is your trinket, sir?

PHILIP:

A walk, once upon a dream.

FAIRY GODMOTHER: (sighing)

 

Let me see the apple.

(FERDINAND hands over the apple to her, and she examines it closely.)

FERDINAND:

Hold it gently, I pray you. It is a precious reminder of her whose lips are red as the rose, hair as black as ebony, skin –

EUGENE:

We know, we know. Snow white.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

This apple is poisoned.

(going over to EUGENE and examining his eyes.)

And your blindness is not natural. At least that can be easily fixed.

(She waves her wand in front of his eyes)

EUGENE:

(Catching sight of KIT first)

You look as pretentious as I imagined.

PHILIP:

A long time ago, an evil fairy roamed the lands of King Stepen named Malificent. She hasn’t been heard from for sixteen years, but I could believe she is behind these strange happenings.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

That is a name I hoped to never hear again.

(Beat)

Well, come along then. Let’s go find your lady loves.

KIT:

But our vow.

EUGENE:

Your vow.

FERDINAND:

We all vowed.

PHILIP:

Surely our vow to chivalry negates a misinformed vow taken in haste.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

What vow?

KIT:

To forsake the company of women for three years.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

Fairy dust. What prompted you to that foolishness?

KIT:

I thought we had been jilted. Perhaps I was mistaken, but a vow is still a vow.

FERDINAND:

There may be a way to fulfill both our vows. If our illustrious Fairy Godmother will bring the maidens to us, we can protect them here in your field without needing to interact with them. Thus, being both chivalrous and free to focus on study.

PHILIP:

What do you say milord?

EUGENE:

I say it will never work.

KIT:

Very well. Bring the maidens here if they are willing, and we will protect them if they are indeed damsels-in-distress.

FAIRY GODMOTHER:

I’ll see what I can do. If I was them, I wouldn’t want to be protected by men foolish enough to forswear love. (She exits)

EUGENE:

I’m telling you, once the women arrive our vow will be forgotten.

FERDINAND:

I will elicit the help of the Seven Dwarves to keep guard over them! (Exits)

BLACKOUT.

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon’s 3DNC Plans

Here is Sharon’s 3DNC post, reblogged from her own site, Sacred Scars.

The Late Bloomer

In three weeks I will be joining three of my friends to participate in our yearly 3Day Novel Contest weekend. Various time constraints and the fact that none of us are officially joining the contests have us starting our weekend writing madness earlier than the standard 12:00 am Saturday morning.

This year I’ve got a wedding to break up my weekend, so unfortunately I’ll have less then 72 hours to write, but I am still very excited about it. What exactly I’ll be working on is still up in the air. There are two possibilities.

Possibility #1 is Love’s Labours Happily Ever After, a play that meshes Fairytale characters with Shakespearen plot lines from (not surprisingly) Love’s Labours LostMidsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and As you Like it. This would be the more practical choice. I am hoping to have my theater group perform it Fall…

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An Invitation to a reading of “Rifton”

Dear Ekphrasians:

You are invited to attend a staged reading of the play RIFTON  by Sharon Gerdes, read by members of Players of the Stage. The stage will be cleared and set up as the set in the Diner might actually look. This will allow the readers to experiment with blocking, and it will give the playwright a greater sense of the structure of the play.

at-the-dinerFebruary 19th, 7:00 pm
Living Hope Presbyterian Church, 330 Schantz Road, Allentown

You are all invited to participate!

February Meeting Report

On Tuesday evening, we eccentric Ekphrasians gathered in the wild world of Wegman’s. It was a glorious meeting. While the skies froze outside, we heated things up there in the cafe with our readings, performance, talk, and laughter.

First, Jeff Harvey started us off by imitating Andrew Stirling MacDonald’s approach to 2015: he shared a list of ambitious creative writing goals for the next 12 months or so.

spitfireThen Marian Barshinger showed her very great confidence by performing a dramatic monologue right there in the grocery store! She’s taking a course in Acting for the Camera, so her focus in this piece was on facial expressions and voice, rather than blocking or gesture. She chose a speech from The Spitfire Grill: a heart-rending narrative of abuse. She performed it very powerfully, with depths of expression and serious focus.

Next Betsy Gahman read a revised chapter of her novel Dragonhoard. This novel is a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale, and in her version, the Beast is a dragon. In what we heard on Tuesday evening, our narrative-perspective character finds himself transformed into a dragon. Betsy’s revision goal was to get into the physicality of dragonness, and she achieved this admirably.dragon_symbol

A performance of another kind followed: a reading of of a scene from Sharon Gerdes’s play Rifton. This is a lively, funny, thoughtful family and small-town drama. It is really coming to life as she reworks it, deepening the relationships and exploring the pain of misunderstanding.

Following this reading, Eric Muller of Hand-in-Hand artworks shared more of his amazing drawings! It is a huge blessing to have a professional artist in our midst. He showed us the final, colorized version of a book cover he has recently created, plus several original portraits of U.S. Presidents for Pastime cards.eric

Switching to creative nonfiction prose, Carl Hoffmeyer shared a really gritty tale of torture–with a surprising historical twist. Carl has a gorgeous reading voice and a masterful command of narrative pacing, so his reading is always a supreme pleasure.

Continuing with our successful streak, Richard Berrigan honored us with the first few pages of his new comic book, starring the same characters from his ongoing Jack Windsword world. His style is lively and active, with exciting plotlines and mythic figures.

Then there was more fiction: a back-story chapter from Earl Pape to go with his dwarf-human saga. This was an account of a battle between minotaurs and their mysterious opponents.

We have a new member of the group, Devon, and she graced us with a piece of tragic creative nonfiction. We hope to hear more from her in the near future!

Since we still had more time, we got to hear yet another scene from Sharon’s Rifton and yet another of Carl’s gripping stories. This was an unforgettable tale of dinosaurs in the backyard!!

Do join us sometime with your own work to share.

 

“Richard II” reading

On December 30th, several members of Ekphrasis gathered to read Shakespeare’s Richard II out loud together. This dramatic event came about because Nadine Kulberg participated in a theatre workshop in NYC all summer, during which she learned one of Richard’s speeches — and then proceed to MEMORIZE the entire role of Richard II. The Ekphrasians came together to read the play under Nadine’s direction, while she recited her part from memory. Casting was as follows:
Richard II — Nadine Kulberg
Bolingbroke/Henry IV — Jim Femister
Mowbray — Eve Kulberg
John of Gaunt — Carl Hoffmeyer
Northumberland — Andrew MacDonald
Duchess of Gloucester — Marian Barshinger
Queen — Marian Barshinger
Percy — Jeff Harvey
Green — Betsy Gahman
Abbot — Amanda Langan
York — Andrew MacDonald
Willoughby — Robbie Gerdes
Exton — Matthew Diem
Ross — Elaine Stone

[let me know if I’ve left anyone out or mixed anyone up, please].

Here are some reflections from the participants (sometimes slightly edited).

Jim: “I had never before participated in a performance where the entire cast was also the audience. Nadine practically had me weeping in the fourth act with her cathartic portrayal of the deposed Richard’s mental anguish. It was a privilege to be part of the whole experience.”

Amanda: “It was excellent, and knowing I was a part of it in a small way was the best. Everyone took their part seriously; however, the element of fun was not forgotten.”

Sharon: “The reading was great. It was a bit boring at times for those of us who didn’t have much involvement in the script, but all in all it was a really positive experience. I enjoyed watching Nadine perform, and especially appreciated all her memorization and her ability to seem perfectly at ease on stage.”

Betsy: “The reading of Richard II was a great experience both as an actor and an English student. The atmosphere was serious but low pressure; some people created their own blocking, while others remained seated. It was great fun to have the freedom to explore different aspects of Shakespeare and even more fun to do it with such a diverse group of people.”

Marian: “For the dramatic reading of Richard II, I got to read for the Queen, the Duchess of Gloucester, and Salisbury. All three parts were very enjoyable to read, but I enjoyed the Queen best. The scene between her and Richard was beautifully tragic, and it was loads of fun to play across from Nadine. I followed along with the script most of the night, and was very impressed by Nadine’s memorization. Very rarely did she mix up any lines. Her performance was committed and stirring to watch. I was grateful to be a part of the experience. I love cold reads, as you can just pick a characterization without letting your head get in the way and run with it. Let’s do another!”

Elaine: “I am familiar with Shakespeare, yet I do not consider myself anywhere near a literary scholar, yet I decided to embark on the journey of attending a Richard II reading. I soon realized I was inducted to be a participant. I settled in, listening and trying to make some sense of what was going on as I had arrived late. I found myself intrigued as the play unfolded and the drama drew me in. I felt amazingly comfortable during the cold reading of my character, and before I knew it, the drama had ended, yet the fire inside me was still smoldering!  The excellent acting of the prepared participants had drawn me in to the story of Richard II.

Jeff: “I was quite impressed by Nadine’s royally brilliant performance as Richard himself. Not only her skill at memorizing the lines (which I heard her say she did ‘just for fun’), but also the control she took over the characterization, bringing out the more feminine aspects of the character, while still able to play it convincingly masculine when the need arose.”

Carl: “First, thank you to all of the wonderful people whom I met and worked with on this reading of Richard II. I have been on-the-boards, first as a child playing Jesus at age six, and more recently in Greek tragedy and Victorian comedy.
Nadine’s lightning presence as the title character was a a most arresting display of serious, dramatic dedication.
Her effort to commit her performance to memory was an inspiration to all of us who followed faithfully behind.
In a word: WOW!!
For those of us who have memorized our short parts in various plays, her hard work was a tour-de-force to compel our own efforts. And those efforts were substantial – our ensemble participation was the glue that bound together a wonderful evening of enlightenment and fellowship for us all.
Thank you for letting me participate with you. I hope that we shall get to do this again.”

So somebody memorize another complete Shakespeare role, and we’ll do it again!