7084893[1]Every so often, Grassroots gives you the chance to perform a Shakespeare play in the style of original-practices.  All you need to do is sign up, memorize your lines, and come prepared to play.  Just a few hours later, you’re performing in a Shakespeare show.

Why only three hours?  Well, you may want to sit down for this: Shakespeare’s actors likely spent onlythree hours rehearsing a new play on the morning of its first public performance.  And audiences didn’t get a discount to what was essentially an open dress-rehearsal. In fact, they paid double just to see the particularly loose, under-rehearsed premiere of a show!

If audiences liked a show after its first performance, it would likely become part of the company’s repertoire – a staggering body of work so large that even the most popular plays would only see the stage a few times.  Only then would a play be given the attention of a more thorough rehearsal.  If, however, the show was “damned” by its first audience, it rarely saw the light of day again.

But wait, they charged double for an unrehearsed play?  Yes!  Because the Elizabethan stage was very much about improvisation, stock-characters, and audience interaction, these loosely-rehearsed productions were seen as special events where just about anything could happen.

So, we try to approach that sense of unpredictability in our workshops.  Let’s face it, we’ve seen many of Shakespeare’s plays dozens of times; but imagine what it might have been like to see them for the very first time.  No baggage, no centuries of analysis, no performance history – just the plays themselves, as experienced by the actors and audience in a unique moment.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, sign-up for one of our workshops today!  Or, stop by the park and play the role of audience.  You’ll be glad you did!

View pictures from our previous workshops: