Tony Brown, the education performances coordinator for the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, is today’s guest on the Around Atlanta edition of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio. Performing out of the Shakespeare Tavern on Peachtree Street for around 25 years, the company previously occupied the upstairs room at Manuel’s Tavern in the 1980s. Here, the company realized the incredible dynamic created when the audience and actors are in close proximity in the same room, and this unique dynamic has continued to be felt in its current location.
Known as an original practice company, the Atlanta Shakespeare Company starts with the original text from Shakespeare’s work, or the work of whichever author they’re performing, and builds the play from there. One of the primary considerations the company takes into account as it creates a play is how it would have been performed during the time period the play was written.
The Atlanta Shakespeare Company just finished performing its 11th season of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and today marks the preview of its next performance, “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” One of Shakespeare’s lesser-known works, this play tells the tale of a con-man trying to escape trouble. He aims to get money by seducing two wealthy women in Windsor, but they quickly figure out his scheme. A great comedy, Brown describes this play as silly and funny, meaning it’s entertaining and will appeal to a wide audience. Next, the company will perform “Romeo and Juliet,” a classic Shakespeare play, beginning Feb. 5, 2015.
One of the unique aspects that audience members will notice about watching a play at the Shakespeare Tavern is that the performances tend to be different every time. The actors often change up the play based on feedback it gets from the audience, occasionally even incorporating a cell phone ring or an audience member exiting the room directly into the play! Additionally, the music and sound effects that are used throughout the play are live, meaning the actors themselves and a backstage crew are responsible for making them.
As the education performances coordinator, Brown is responsible for working with local schools to bring performances to them. The Atlanta Shakespeare Company has the ability to take a full-blown production, including the cast, set and costumes, to a school that has the space. For those schools that don’t have the space, the education department also offers smaller programs, such as in-class play shops.
To learn more about the Atlanta Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Tavern, listen to the full podcast above. For more information or to purchase tickets to a show, call the Box Office at 404-874-5299 ext. 0 or visit www.ShakespeareTavern.com.
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