Lincoln and Shakespeare: Feb 25, 2016

Lincoln and Shakespeare

Join us Thursday, February 25 for First Annual Kirk Davis Jr. Public Shakespeare Lecture, featuring Professor Michael Anderegg and Professor Richard Brestoff.

At 5:00 pm, please join us for a special reception and book party in honor of Shakespeare Center supporter Kirk Davis Jr; Robert Cohen, author of Shakespeare on Theater; Michael Anderegg, author of Lincoln and Shakespeare; and the UCI contributors to the Arden Guide to Romeo and Juliet, including Ian Munro, Becky Helfer, Julia Lupton, and Chris Dearner.


For information: contact Julia Lupton,

UCI undergrad Isis Huang reviews the 2015 New Swan season

witches in Macbeth

Grace Morrison, Maribel Martinez, and Kelsey Miller as the weird sisters in Eli Simon’s production of Macbeth

From early July to the end of August, the annual New Swan Shakespeare festival alternates between performing a comedy and a tragedy in a round, roofless stage that aptly resembles the Globe theatre. Rows of wooden strips painted traffic light red, neon yellow, cyan, and wet pavement brown blend into each other on the portable exterior, so that the New Swan theatre appears like a traffic blur curved into a highway ring. Inside, playgoers ascend steps towards the “heavens” row, crossing the platform used in the famous balcony scene of last year’s Romeo and Juliet. Tonight it will be where the maiden Hero (Grace Morrison) shall listen to heartbroken soldier Claudio (Colin Nesmith) singing about her in the post-WWII reinterpretation of Much Ado About Nothing.

Directed by New Swan festival founder Beth Lopes, Much Ado About Nothing delivers riotous fun. The most delightful scenes feature rivals of wit Beatrice (Stephanie Philo Newman) and Benedick (Ryan Imhoff), who unwittingly fall for the matchmaking schemes of their kinsmen and military comrades respectively, both parties conspiring to deceive obstinate bachelors into believing themselves loved by the other. Benedick’s companion misinterprets his co-conspirator’s gesture of hearts protruding out of the chest and instead pretends to stab himself when claiming that the supposedly heart-wrenched Beatrice was in danger of doing a “most desperate deed,” thus inciting wonder in the duped Benedick, bemusement in his accomplice, and mirth in the audience.

Sporting brunette curls and men’s trousers, UCI alumnus Newman fittingly evokes Katharine Hepburn when inhabiting the character of the acerbic, independent Beatrice. She infuses an infectious vivacity into her role and involves New Swan spectators in her comedic antics — at least to be used as stage props. She conceals her eavesdropping by borrowing a program guide from an audience member, and grips a random gentleman’s head with excitement upon hearing about Benedick’s supposed love for her. Lunacy aside, the actors deftly execute the more sober notes of the story. Founding company member Colin Nesmith showcases his dramatic skills as the gullible and love-struck Claudio, summoning genuine tears that stream down his face flushed red with anguish for wronged Hero. Continue reading

Romeo and Juliet in Mexico

Letty Garcia, PhD student in Drama

Letty Garcia, PhD student in drama, is lead student researcher in “Romeo and Juliet in Mexico” project.

The UCI Shakespeare Center has received a grant from the Committee on Research and Libraries to build a performance bibliography on Romeo and Juliet in Mexico. Letty Garcia, Ph.D. student in Drama at UCI, will take the lead in this research, with additional support from Danilo Caputo (English) and Chris Dearner (English). Julia Lupton is Principal Investigator.

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Shakespeare Shorts reach over 500 people in a weekend of performances

Rehearsal, "Shakespeare Shorts," Spring, 2015. Photo: Gigi Greene. Directed by Paul Cook; artistic director for Shakespeare Shorts: Jane Page.

Rehearsal, “Shakespeare Shorts,” Spring, 2015. Photo: Gigi Greene. Directed by Paul Cook; artistic director for Shakespeare Shorts: Jane Page.

Shakespeare Shorts, a series of one-hour adaptations directed by MFA students in Drama and under the artistic direction of Jane Page, finished their run on the weekend of April 30-May 2. These site-specific performances were staged in the small plazas, stairwells and balconies of the Intercollegiate Athletic Building at UCI. Over the weekend, over five hundred students, faculty, staff, and community attended these free outdoor performances. The production was sponsored by Illuminations, the Chancellor’s Arts and Culture Initiative.