Speaking the universal language of human experience, Shakespeare explores the facets of the human heart better than any other playwright while instructing us how to be good, believing that we can behave a little bit better than we sometimes want to behave.
In characters like Beatrice and Benedick, Iago and King Lear, Caliban, Mercutio and Juliet we meet ourselves and our human capacity for love, for goodness, for cruelty, for buffoonery and foolishness. “Through trauma and loss he guides his characters onto a plane of positive presence.” (Patsy Rodenburg, The Second Circle)
To love God, oneself and others while remaining fully present to ourselves and our fellow actors is the ensemble journey that we take each summer as we audition, cast, rehearse and perform Shakespeare. During the preceding school year Peace of the City’s acting class met for 90 minutes every Wednesday, gathering together in a large circle, face to face and eye to eye, free of cell phone calls, Facebook updates and other distractions. We invited God’s presence to be among us. We practiced relaxation. We practiced yoga and body work. We worked on monologues and vocalization and improvisation. All this is necessary work to pull together a demanding production. And every week I remind my young people: “Peace of the City is not primarily concerned with helping you become great actors; we want to teach you to become good women and good men along with the discipline of staying present to yourself and to the love of God no matter what your circumstances.”
While exploring the play’s characters, motivations and histories, we self-assess. While exploring the themes of the play, we discuss culture, politics and a global technological society. And we mine for the true gold of Shakespeare: the spiritual work of transformation, the quest for God and authentic faith. Shakespeare illuminates human nature with all of our complexities while calling forth our best selves. That is why we do Shakespeare.
Megan McClain Kwacz, director
Diann Takens-Cerbone, producer