Shakespeare in the Parklet!
SF Shakes has begun"30 Days of Free Shakespeare in the Parklet" - a one-of-a-kind theatrical celebration of our first 30 years. Between now and the first performance of Henry V in the Presidio on Sept. 1, our actors will pop up in parklets all over San Francisco, performing 10-minute scenes from Shakespeare's canon.
Shakespeare in the Parklet Schedule
754 Post St
(btw Leavenworth & Jones)
Michael Ray Wisely* as Stephano
Measure for Measure
Huntington Park fountain opposite Grace Cathedral, California and Taylor Streets
William J. Brown III
of the Shrew
Mission Playground Water Feature
(Valencia @ Cunningham)
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Noe Valley Parklet
(24th & Sanchez)
Elissa Beth Stebbins as Mistress Ford,
Jennifer Le Blanc*
as Mistress Page
(A co-presentation with Shakespeare’s Associates/Livermore Shakespeare Festival)
17th St & Castro Parklet
B. Chico Purdiman
As You Like it
22nd St & Bartlett Parklet
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Merced Heights Playground
(822 Shields, between Byxbee
The cast of Temple United Methodist Church Bay Area Shakespeare Camp, Directed by Sara Shoshana David
(2406 California St, by Pizzeria Delfina)
Earl of Gloucester
as Lady Anne
Rebecca J. Ennals
Transamerica Redwood Park, behind the Transamerica Building
as Lady Macbeth
| Day 10
Romeo and Juliet
Yerba Buena Gardens, water feature behind B Restaurant
Carl Holvick-Thomas as Romeo
Rebecca J. Ennals
Deepistan National Parklet, aka 'The Deeplet' (937 Valencia @ 20th St)
Rebecca J. Ennals
Civic Center Plaza
Emily Nappi as Brutus
Gabriel McCulloch as Mark Antony
at South Park Ave and Jack London Alley just off Brannan
as Lewis the Dauphin
as Cardinal Pandulph
| Day 14
Tony's Pizza Napoletana,
1570 Stockton Street
as Don armado
All's Well That Ends Well
Arlequin Cafe Parklet,
384 Hayes St
as the Countess
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Trouble Coffee Parklet,
4033 Judah St
near the Cable Car turnaround at Hyde and Beach; in the plaza with the rotunda opposite the Buena Vista
Antipholus of Syracuse
as Dromio of Syracuse
| Day 18
Henry IV, Part 1
Martin Mack's Parklet,
1568 Haight St @ Clayton
as Prince Hal
as Ned Poins
| Day 19
Henry IV, Part 2
Thu, Aug 16
Haight & Stanyan,
by the pond at the edge of Golden Gate Park
as King Henry V
as Justice Shallow
as Prince John
as the Chief Justice
| Day 20
The Winter's Tale
Sat, Aug 18
Troilus & Cressida
1331 Ninth Ave, (between Irving & Judah St)
Devil's Teeth Baking Company Parklet,
3876 Noriega St (between 45th & 46th Ave)
Michael Barrett Austin*
Thu, Aug 23
Yerba Buena Gardens, by Childrens' Discovery Museum and Carousel
| Day 24
King Richard II
Fri, Aug 24
Hayes & Steiner
(in front of the Painted Ladies)
Jennifer Le Blanc*
as King Richard II
as Duke of Aumerle
as Bishop of Carlisle
as Earl of Salisbury
as Sir Stephen Scroop
Great Meadow, near the Bufano statue on MacDowell bike path
Mon, Aug. 27
Squat and Gobble Parklet,
Market & Noe
| Day 27
Tue, Aug. 28
Quetzal Café Parklet,
1234 Polk St
@ Fern St
| Day 28
3318 22nd St
@ Valencia St
@ Tiffany, between Mission & San Jose
Sharon Huff Robinbson
as The Queen
as Dr. Cornelius
8:00 pm - Bonfire
8:30 pm - Reading
Ocean Beach - Fire ring between Stairwells 15 & 20,
Fulton @ Great Highway
"O For a Muse of Fire"
(see full text)
Everyone as the Chorus
Shakespeare in the Parklet:
In 1983, so the story goes, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival began with a performance of The Tempest on a picnic table in Golden Gate Park. We’ve come a long way since then - every summer we perform for up to 30,000 people in parks all over the Bay Area, culminating in San Francisco’s Presidio during the month of September.
In celebration of our 30th Anniversary Season, we’re presenting 30 mini-performances of scenes from the last 30 years of plays... along with a few scenes from plays we haven’t gotten to yet! And just as we did back in 1983, we’re popping up in some unusual locations with little advance notice. What we didn’t have back then was Facebook and Twitter. Follow us @sfshakes to find out where the next “Pop-up Shakespeare” will appear... in a public park, parklet, or historical site around our home city of San Francisco. Then come and see our fully produced free performance of Henry V in the Presidio.
We believe that Shakespeare is for everyone, and that Shakespeare should be everywhere. That’s why we bring the words of the Bard to children of all ages through our education programs, go directly into diverse communities to explore Shakespeare’s timeless relevance and universality, and keep our programs free whenever possible. If you’d like to support our work with a donation, you can do so at www.sfshakes.org/support.
The “30 Days” will feature artists of all ages from all of our core programs - Free Shakespeare in the Park, Shakespeare on Tour, Bay Area Shakespeare Camps, our Resident Teaching Artist Company, and our Intern Company. We might even get you up on your feet before we’re through!
(*appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association)
30 Quotes for 30 Years - A Celebratory Communal Reading
(read by board, staff, and supporters at 30th Anniversary celebration, April 18, 2012)
1. “There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the natures of the times deceas'd;
The which observ'd, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, who in their seeds
And weak beginning lie intreasured.” – Henry IV, Part 2 (Julian Lopez-Morillas)
We begin with a look backwards to the rich history of free Shakespeare in San Francisco and elsewhere. For 15 years prior to our official debut as the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival 30 years ago, director Margrit Roma and producer Clarence Ricklefs were already presenting free productions of Shakespeare in beautiful Golden Gate Park. Their work already exemplified the Festival’s future mission – providing access to Shakespeare free of charge to communities and schools. This mission was itself inspired by Joseph Papp, founder of New York’s Public Theatre, who believed that all citizens should have the opportunity to see great art in public spaces free of charge.
2. “What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet” – Romeo and Juliet (Linda Merriwether)
In 1983, entrepreneur Bobby Winston and others saw possibilities to expand the company’s reach in the Bay Area and beyond. The company was re-christened San Francisco Shakespeare Festival at a fundraiser celebrating the 80th birthday of board chairman Cyril Magnin. The name has stuck, locating us firmly in our beautiful city even as we travel far and wide to bring Shakespeare to many communities. I’d like to acknowledge Bob Glavin, who was there in those founding days and has been with us in so many ways since then.
3. “Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals;
The pale companion is not for our pomp.” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Stephen Hamilton)
In 1983, the newly minted Festival presented The Tempest, directed by Margrit Roma and featuring future Artistic Director Charles McCue as Ferdinand. They spread the word, like Philostrate in Midsummer, by walking through the park passing out flyers and shouting in the streets. This grass-roots marketing style became a trademark of the Festival. Today, this tradition is upheld by our marketing team, led by Marketing Director John Western, who has been with the Festival since 1997, and Daniel Holloway, our Marketing and Development Associate. Their beautiful work can be seen in the season brochure and MOO cards on your tables. Thank you, John and Daniel, for everything you do.
4. “I have watch'd and travell'd hard.
Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I'll whistle.
A good man's fortune may grow out at heels.
Give you good morrow!” – King Lear (Phil Lowery)
In 1988, the Festival launches its educational programs with Shakespeare on Tour. Six actors and a stage manager pile into a van and bring a one-hour version of a Shakespeare play to schools all over the state. Hard work, early mornings, and good fortune ensue for both actors and audiences. 25 years later, Shakespeare on Tour is still rolling around the state in its (mostly) trusty van, christened either Calivan or Vanquo as the fancy strikes us. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the Shakespeare on Tour actors in the room – some of the hardest working people in the Shakespeare business.
5. “O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!” – The Tempest (Toby Leavitt)
In 1991, the Festival revisited The Tempest, this time with local legend Sydney Walker in the leading role of Prospero. His performance is praised as one of the triumphs of the theatre season. The Festival, now as then, works with over 100 local artists every year – there are plenty of goodly creatures here in the Bay Area, many in this room.
6. “There is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically clapp'd for't. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the common stages (so they call them) that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goosequills and dare scarce come thither.” – Hamlet (Steve Muterspaugh)
In 1993, the Festival launched its first Midsummer Shakespeare Camp. This highly successful program invites children to perform edited versions of Shakespeare’s plays in the original language. Occasionally, as the Players in Hamlet found, they give the professionals a run for their money! Twenty years later, our camps have enhanced the lives of tens of thousands of Bay Area children. I’d like to acknowledge not only the camp teaching artists in the room, but also the parents of campers and the campers themselves, some of whom have been volunteering here tonight.
7. “The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.”
– The Merchant of Venice (Kenneth Kelleher)
With the Gershwin musical Oh Kay! in 1994, starring Maureen McVerry, the Festival began exploring indoor, non-Shakespeare theatre. This may have been our first musical, but music has always been an important component of our work – we frequently incorporate historical songs into our productions, and many of our shows feature original music by local composers. Shakespeare’s players knew well that music can touch the heart even more purely and simply than words. I’d like to thank Bill Walker and the other musicians and composers who have contributed to the Festival.
8. “Truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south, and their consent of one direct way should be at once to all the points o' the compass.” – Coriolanus (Daniel Holloway)
In the 90’s, the success of Free Shakespeare in the Park lead the company to explore bringing it to other cities. The first calls came from the south, and we are still performing in Cupertino to this day. Cupertino’s stunning amphitheatre in Memorial Park provides a beautiful venue for Free Shakespeare.
9. “Good my lord, will you see the players well bestow'd? Do you hear? Let them be well us'd; for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.” – Hamlet (Ray Kutz)
The Shakespeare Festival played producer and continued exploring indoor venues in 1997 and 2000, when we presented the Royal Shakespeare Company’s touring productions of The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, as well as Gareth Armstrong’s Shylock.
10. “Our doubts are traitors
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt.”
– Measure for Measure (Melvin Brown)
In 1998, inspired by the Midnight Basketball program in Oakland, the Festival began offering programming for at-risk youth in Oakland, helping them to achieve academic and personal success . By putting on a Shakespeare play, participants learn teamwork, emotional and social skills, and the joy of achievement. The program expanded over the years to include San Jose, Antioch, and San Francisco locations, and continues to grow today. I’d like to acknowledge Becky Kemper, our Director of Training and Outreach, for her extraordinary work nurturing this program.
11. “The beds i' the east are soft; and thanks to you,
That call'd me timelier than my purpose hither;
For I have gain'd by 't.”
– Antony and Cleopatra (John Loll)
The Festival found another home in 2000, east in the city of Pleasanton, first for Free Shakespeare in the Park, then Shakespeare camps, then tour performances at schools and the library. We are now celebrating 5 years of the Civic Arts Stage Company, a youth theatre program, and looking for ways to bring it to other cities. Thank you, John Loll, for helping to nurture our Pleasanton programs.
12. “And, being a woman, I will not be slack
To play my part in Fortune's pageant.”
– Henry VI Part II (Pam Sogge)
Around this time, Toby Leavitt joined the company as Managing Director, then Executive Director. Under Toby’s leadership, the company has solidified its position as a leader in arts education and community outreach. We’ve benefited from Toby’s careful and strategic management, which some might call conservative, but her ideas about the relationship between arts and the community are anything but. Thanks to Toby for everything she’s done for the company and for her continued leadership.
13. “Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”
– Hamlet (Jim Babcock)
In 2000, the Festival suffered a tragic loss – the sudden death of resident director Albert Takazauckas of a heart attack on opening night of Henry IV, Part 1. Ever resourceful, the company soldiered on, with Albert’s partner Hector Correa taking the reins of our first self-produced indoor production, Henry IV Part 2, dedicated to his memory. Hector is in Oregon and couldn’t be with us tonight, but I’d like to acknowledge Ken Ruta, whose performance as Falstaff in those productions remains an artistic touchstone for us.
14.“Sweet are the uses of adversity
Challenges continued after September 11, 2001, when the city’s coffers suffer from the decline of tourism as well as the sudden burst of the dot-com bubble. After a few more indoor productions, including the pantos Cinderella and Aladdin as well as King Lear and Romeo and Juliet, the Festival decided that our mission was still best served in Free Shakespeare in the Park and the education programs.
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
I would not change it.”
– As You Like It (Lauren Bloom)
15. “I do assure you, my lord, he is very great in knowledge and accordingly valiant.”
– All’s Well that Ends Well (Deb Pearl-Styles)
2002 marked Ken Kelleher’s first season as director of Free Shakespeare in the Park, with a production of Love’s Labours Lost. 2012 marks his tenth year as Resident Director. His strong visual sense and love of music infuse his memorable productions. Audiences of all kinds find meaning in his use of iconic imagery and modern references. Thank you, Ken, for your commitment to excellence over the past decade, and your consistently strong productions.
16. “This twenty years
This rock and these demesnes have been my world;
Where I have lived at honest freedom, paid
More pious debts to heaven than in all
The fore-end of my time. But up to the mountains!” – Cymbeline (Brian Herndon)
In 2004, the Festival made the decision to move its San Francisco performances from its longtime home of Golden Gate Park to the Presidio. The noise interference from large concerts prevents our audiences from being able to hear Shakespeare’s words, and we feel that our mission is better served in a quieter venue. We began a fruitful partnership with the Presidio Trust and Jeff Weik, who is here tonight. Thank you, Jeff.
17. “Thus play I in one person many people,
In 2004, tightening budgets mean reducing the cast of Shakespeare on Tour to only five actors and performing one show per school year. As always, the Festival takes a challenge and makes it an opportunity, with creative doublings and the use of audience volunteers, once more doing a lot with very little and finding new aspects of our creative selves to share with our audiences. We have one staff member in particular who plays many parts - Steve Mannshardt, who joined us as our technical director, load manager, set, and lighting designer just a few years ago. His skills are apparent even in the room this evening. Thank you, Steve, for your willingness to be many people at once.
And none contented: sometimes am I king;
Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am: then crushing penury
Persuades me I was better when a king;
Then am I king'd again.” – Richard II (Alex Lenarsky)
18. “For there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey.” – Robert Greene (Becky Kemper)
This insult, our only non-Shakespeare quote of the evening, seems to have been intended for a young playwright from Stratford, who with only a grammar-school education was blazing his way as a bright new light in the theatre. By naming our teens the “Upstart Crows,” we acknowledge that though they’re young, they have a lot to offer as artists and human beings. Our teens often remind us that wisdom can be gained both in and out of the classroom, and that brilliance can come from anyone, with any racial, economic, or social background. We encourage them to speak up and bombast out a blank verse or two! Our teen programs have grown from a few summer camps to a month-long Advanced Shakespeare Workshop and a year-round Saturday program under the leadership of our stellar education department.
19. “Through the house give gathering light,
In 2007, Bay Area Shakespeare Camps expand to include very young children, aged 4-6. These pre-readers, which we’ve named the Shakespeare Sprites, explore Shakespeare’s language and characters through imaginative play, song, and movement. You’re never too young to speak and hear Shakespeare’s words! 20. “These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse, and fight for bitten apples”
By the dead and drowsy fire:
Every elf and fairy sprite
Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty, after me,
Sing, and dance it trippingly.” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mariah Castle)
– Henry VIII (Cynthia Francis)
In 2008, the City of Pleasanton recruits SF Shakes to co-produce our first full Theatre for Young Audiences production, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, at Amador Theatre in Pleasanton. The Civic Arts Stage Company program is now one of the Festival’s core programs, allowing young people to perform in three fully produced literature-inspired shows per season alongside professional guest artists. This season, Civic Arts performed our first original work, my own adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, to sold-out houses.
21. “He was a man, take him for all in all.
I shall not look upon his like again.” – Hamlet (John Western)
In 2010, friends and family gathered in Golden Gate Park to honor the memory of former Artistic Director and founding member Charlie McCue, who passed away earlier that year. Many of us believe that he was happiest in that field, where Free Shakespeare in the Park performed for so many seasons. I will always remember Charlie with his armloads of t-shirts and baseball caps, walking through the crowd with a smile for everyone he met.
22. “Here let us breathe, and haply institute
A course of learning and ingenious studies.” – The Taming of the Shrew (Christina Camaano)
In 2010, with the arrival of Becky Kemper as Director of Training, the Festival inaugurates the Resident Teaching Artist company, a group of approximately 15 senior teaching artists who take on residencies and other teaching opportunities year-round. The creation of this company allows the Festival to offer on-the-job training and retain top-notch artists outside of the summer camp months. We have many of our RTAs in the room tonight – thank you for your great work!
23. “You bid me make it orderly and well,
According to the fashion and the time.” – The Taming of the Shrew (Michael Wong)
The formation of the RTA company has given us another opportunity for expansion. We’re now able to do Tailor-Made Residencies for schools and other groups all over the Bay Area, matching up clients with teaching artists and curriculum and reaching out to even more new audiences with Shakespeare.
24. "When beggars die there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes." – Julius Caesar (Rob Chansler)
Last year, beloved board member Keith Taylor died in a car accident. His financial leadership, sense of humor, and enthusiasm are sorely missed. As it has so many times before, our board rallied, took on Keith’s responsibilities, and ensured our continued stability and success. We are grateful to all of our board members for providing leadership and support as we continue the pursuit of our mission into the future. We’d like to acknowledge them all tonight for this wonderful event.
The next five quotes give examples of our core values, as written by the Bard.
25. “O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.” – Henry V (Lauren Kozlenko)
One of SF Shakes’ core values is doing a lot with very little, as demonstrated by that first production, performed on a picnic table. We ask that our audiences use their imaginations and “piece out our imperfections with their thoughts.” Over the years, as the economy has waxed and waned, we have adapted thanks to our audience’s imaginations and our own.
26. “Your honour's players, hearing your amendment,
Are come to play a pleasant comedy;
For so your doctors hold it very meet,
Seeing too much sadness hath congeal'd your blood,
And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy.
Therefore they thought it good you hear a play
And frame your mind to mirth and merriment,
Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.”
- The Taming of the Shrew (Maryssa Wanlass)
We believe, like the players in the prologue of The Taming of the Shrew, that to laugh at a comedy, or cry at a tragedy, is good for the health of the individual and the community, and to share this experience with those seated beside you is part of what it means to be human.
27. “The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Livia Demarchi)
The Festival believes that Shakespeare is for everyone, and we welcome everyone in the community to speak and own these words. We recognize the pleasure of hearing Shakespeare spoken by a well-trained classical actor. Like Theseus, the Duke of Athens, who expresses generosity toward the amateur players of Midsummer, we also take joy when these words are spoken by a seven-year-old camper or a local amateur actor.
28. “Wit, an't be thy will, put me into good fooling! Those wits, that think they have thee, do very oft prove fools; and I, that am sure I lack thee, may pass for a wise man: for what says Quinapalus? 'Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit.'” – Twelfth Night (Jenn LeBlanc)
Shakespeare’s wisest characters are often fools, as in King Lear and Twelfth Night. At the heart of our education programs is a willingness to play the fool – to ask questions and not know the answers, to lead by curiosity and not certainty. Students and teachers alike are often confounded by the perceived difficulty of Shakespeare’s language. It’s always good to remember that Shakespeare’s audience was hearing many of his words for the first time, since he invented so many of them. We strive to create an environment that encourages listening, questioning, and remaining curious and open to new things. May we all be unafraid to be fools.
29. “Words, words, words.” – Hamlet (D’andre Crummie)
This is our shortest quote, and yet the most important, since it is at the core of everything we do. We believe it is the words of Shakespeare that touch our spirits and unite our hearts when we hear them together. We are committed to using the original language with every audience and every actor, from our 4-year-old Sprites on up.
30. “O, this life
Is nobler than attending for a cheque,
Richer than doing nothing for a bauble,
Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
Such gain the cap of him that makes 'em fine,
Yet keeps his book uncross'd: no life to ours.”
– Cymbeline (Eleanor Jacobs)
30 years of triumphs, tragedies, memories, and magic, as every Shakespeare Festival should have. I know that some of our guests here tonight are new to the Festival. That may well make you the most important people in the room, because you represent our future – the next 30 years and beyond. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing a little about who we are and where we come from. Now it’s time to celebrate. Please raise your glasses in an early birthday toast to a very important guy, without whom none of this would be possible – William Shakespeare. Long may we continue to bring his words to the ears of our audiences, challenging, inspiring, and joining together in community. Cheers!