Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home ::

Chesapeake Shakespeare Moves to Baltimore

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.349  Tuesday, 19 August 2014


From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 16, 2014 at 8:47:44 AM EDT

Subject:    Chesapeake Shakespeare Moves to Baltimore


I thought you might like this from The Washington Post:


Chesapeake Shakespeare among troupes banking on Baltimore


Chesapeake Shakespeare among troupes banking on Baltimore

By Nelson Pressley 

August 15


Baltimore’s historic 1885 Mercantile Trust and Deposit building has spent most of the 21st century remodeled as a mega-nightclub, ripe for hundreds of revelers grooving to deep beats. Yet when Ian Gallanar and Lesley Malin saw it, they dreamily pictured it as an update of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.


Now “Shakespeare” is the dominant word on the smartly refurbished stone building’s new marquee at Calvert and Redwood, barely two blocks north of Inner Harbor. That’s where the 12-year-old Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, known for outdoor summer performances in Ellicott City, is making its move into Baltimore.


The $6.7 million project gets its ribbon-cutting next month, with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wielding the scissors. Performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” begin days later, which is why CSC artistic director Gallanar and managing director Malin are closing the door behind them in one of the new dressing rooms on the basement level and turning off the lights. In the dark, resident costume designer Kristina Lambdin demonstrates a set of fairy wings with flickering light bulbs that she’s just made in the company’s modest new costume shop across the hall.


“I love it,” Gallanar enthuses to Lambdin, one of several longtime company associates that CSC has been able to bring on staff full-time with this company expansion.


A plethora of projects

The CSC’s dramatic entrance into Charm City is the latest indication that Baltimore theater is moving into — what else to call it? — a new stage. Last year, Everyman Theatre completed an $18 million relocation from its small Charles Street home to a smartly renovated vaudeville house near the Hippodrome. The Everyman architect firm, Cho Benn Holback and Associates, also designed the CSC’s appealing retrofit of the Mercantile Trust building, and has been tasked with thinking about a new plan for Center Stage — Baltimore’s flagship regional theater — that could include a new 99-seat venue.


“I’m just so pleased that the theater community in Baltimore is expanding and getting slicker and bolder,” says Center Stage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah.


Last January, Single Carrot Theatre — created in the middle of the last decade by University of Colorado graduates who thought Baltimore would be a good place to start a company — opened a 99-seat stage a few blocks south of the Baltimore Art Museum, sharing the building with the restaurant Parts and Labor. Baltimore’s young-ish crop of DIY troupes is making strides, too. In July the Baltimore Development Corporation approved plans for three buildings on North Howard Street to be sold and operated as a center for several up-and-coming organizations, including EMP Collective, the Acme Corporation and Annex Theatre. Local developer Ted Rouse is involved, and the project’s price tag could reach $7 million.


“If block after block of D.C.’s downtown could be revitalized over the years, there is no reason why Baltimore can’t enjoy something similar,” critic Tim Smith wrote in the Baltimore Sun, praising the Howard Street initiative.


That project falls within the Bromo Tower Arts District, one of three state-designated arts districts in the city. (Station North and Highlandtown are the others.) The proposal awaits approval from the mayor’s office, which could come within the next week or so, according to Dan Taylor of the Baltimore Development Corporation.


“It’s really what we are shooting for, the type of project we would like to see,” Taylor said. “It starts to knit together the Howard Street corridor as an arts corridor.”


“We were very high on the proposal,” said Bill Gilmore, executive director of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts.


Of course, new facilities often bring new risks. “It’s a big leap,” Gilmore said. “That’s why I think the collaboration on Howard Street is the way to go.”


We wanted to take control of our own destiny,” says EMP artistic director Carly Bales, “in terms of being able to own buildings that exist perhaps even beyond the life of some of the organizations involved.”


Catalysts for change

Evan Moritz runs the six-year-old Annex Theatre, which is to be one of the three “parent” companies at Howard Street. Two years ago, Annex took up residency in the Chicken Box, a former fast-food joint in Station North, leasing the space from the city “for a song,” Moritz said. Programming and audiences have grown at the Chicken Box, but that space will eventually be redeveloped for the Maryland Film Festival.


“It’s great for us momentarily,” Moritz said. “But we’ve been hopscotching all around the city for several years now, as have many companies.”


Acme co-artistic director Lola Pierson said she loves working in the Station North church that has lately been home, even with its constraints.

“Challenge activates your creativity,” she said. On the other hand, Pierson can’t help but wonder: “What could we be doing if we weren’t spending half of tech trying to borrow extension cords? It would be great to make work where we knew the lights were going to come on.”


One catalyst driving the changes is a Baltimore audience that apparently doesn’t self-segregate into isolated communities burrowing strictly into theater, or dance, or fine arts. Current Space and other galleries are already on the strip of Howard Street where the hub is proposed; Bales, Pierson and Moritz all cite the cross-fertilization as an asset, while Gilmore said there is “a lot of market” for what Baltimore artists are offering.


“You go to these places and they’re packed,” he said.


Another catalyst: “I think enough groups have been around just long enough and are just the right size that we’re starting to feel constrained,” Moritz said. He agrees with Gilmore and Bales that way forward is ownership. The upward mobility around Station North may already be pricing scrappy troupes out.


“Everyone can see it coming a mile away,” Moritz said. “If we don’t step up and take ownership, we will not have a strong voice in the neighborhood.”


Looking ahead

Enter the Shakespeareans.


The CSC apparently doesn’t have to worry about being priced out of their new home rent-wise. The building was purchased by the Helm Foundation, run by Malin and her husband, CSC board member Scott Helm; the foundation put in $3.3 million. (Malin said more than $5.5 million has been raised overall, with $1.1 million to go.) Gallanar and Malin said the lease calls for CSC to pay $10 a month for 25 years.


The family-friendly CSC, created in 2002, has built a following with its spirited open-air shows staged among the ruins of the historic Patapsco Female Institute. (Those summer shows will continue to be offered at PFI; the company has been performing in the Howard County Center for the Arts — a converted elementary school — each winter.) The interior redevelopment of the Mercantile building makes virtues of the handsome three-story Corinthian columns and the striking coffered ceiling, painted bold purples and golds from its recent decade-long run as a mega-club.


The 266-seat CSC facility is a cousin of the courtyard stage created by D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth, only with a deeper thrust stage — the audience will sit on three sides — and more “vertical” feel. The railing of the third tier had to be raised to counter the dizzying sensation of gazing sharply down.


The CSC’s deliberately disarming philosophy is often to ignore the fourth wall and engage the audience, which sometimes migrates from scene to scene through the outdoor ruins with the performers. Creating that tone may be trickier with the new theater’s sharper boundaries separating performers and audience.


“It took us about 15 seconds to realize we can’t do what we do if the audience is in the dark and you can’t see them,” Gallanar said, during a rough rehearsal on the Baltimore stage,.


Gallanar plans to keep the house lights up slightly, so the audience doesn’t disappear. Further chances for friendly contact will be at the beer-and-wine bar upstairs (there’s another on the main floor), which stay open at least a half-hour after the show.


“It’s a bar, so an actor may show up,” Gallanar deadpanned.


The non-Equity company is doubling in size with this move: the staff has already expanded from five to nine full-time employees, and the annual budget is escalating from $600,000 to $1.3 million. The season is growing from four shows to seven, including “Comedy of Errors” outdoors next summer. All the selections are warhorses: “Vanya,” a Baltimore-set “Christmas Carol” and “The Importance of Being Earnest” are on the slate with four Shakespeares. For now, Gallanar isn’t worried about exhausting his audience’s appetite for the Bard, and the current commitment is for half the shows to be Shakespearean.


“We’ve budgeted very conservatively for the first year,” Malin said of the radical leap in size. “We’re not expecting to sell out.”


“It’s been in the forefront of most of our thinking,” Gallanar said. “Companies disintegrate, because it’s too stressful.”


Malin notes that even with only nine full-time staff and no real need for a scene shop – the ruins have usually been scenery enough, and designers can’t build anything elaborate on the new thrust stage – the organization is still “a little pinched for space.” The back of the stage is only a few feet from Redwood Street, so the honk and hum of traffic occasionally bleeds through to the theater.


Again, Gallanar is tranquil.

“I’m not concerned with blocking out the sounds of the city,” he said. “This is where we are. And we like being here.”


“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Ian Gallanar. Sept. 25-Oct. 12 at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 7 South Calvert Street, Baltimore. Call 410-244-8570 or visit

Christopher Moore's The Serpent of Venice

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.348  Tuesday, 19 August 2014


From:        Hardy M. Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Subject:     Christopher Moore's The Serpent of Venice


Saturday, July 26, 2014

‘Serpent of Venice’ another delight from Christopher Moore

By Anna Schles

West Virginia University


Fans of William Shakespeare will tell you that once you get past the intricate language of his works, the plays are truly wild stories of adventure, tragedy and humor with more than a little inappropriateness. In fact, it could be said that Shakespeare’s famous plays were the blockbuster movies of their day.


Christopher Moore’s “The Serpent of Venice” lives up to the Bard’s works in terms of exciting plot, emotion and often improper humor, while being written in a style and format more accessible to today’s readers. That said, while “The Serpent of Venice” remains true to the spirit of school’s assigned Shakespeare reading texts, it could be inappropriate for younger teenagers.

“The Serpent of Venice” is a sequel to Moore’s 2009 novel “Fool,” although it is not necessary to have read “Fool” in order to enjoy “The Serpent of Venice.” “Fool” is a spirited retelling of Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” and the main character in both novels is King Lear’s brilliant fool, Pocket. “The Serpent of Venice” is a comical mash-up of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” and “Othello,” with a sprinkling of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado.”


One does not need to have any prior knowledge of “King Lear,” “The Merchant of Venice” or “Othello” in order to enjoy and comprehend Moore’s novel. However if a reader is familiar with the plays, he or she can more fully appreciate Moore’s immense skill as a storyteller and his talent for bringing cultural context and classic characters to life.


“The Serpent of Venice” picks up as Pocket the Fool is about to be assassinated. His wife, the late King Lear’s daughter, Queen Cordelia, has sent him from England to Venice so he can annoy some powerful people and prevent senseless war for profit. Since, of course, preventing senseless war can anger the people who plan to profit from it, Pocket finds himself losing everything.


Three ruthless villains — Antonio, Brabantio and Iago — have executed a plan to quickly silence Pocket and slowly kill him. Pocket has been suicidal since the recent death of his wife from an apparent fever, but as he lies dying, he decides he wants to live. With the help of some familiar new friends, human and otherwise, Pocket seeks revenge and justice.


“The Serpent of Venice” is essentially a funny novel, jam-packed with subtle wit, outrageous laugh-inducing scenes and everything in between. However, when one combines “Othello” (one of Shakespeare’s tragedies), “The Merchant of Venice” (pretty much the darkest comedy ever written) and anything by Edgar Allan Poe, the result is sure to be a little dark. Christopher Moore skillfully weaves the comedy into the tragedy, creating a complex and masterful work sure to delight readers.

PBS Shakespeare Uncovered

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.347  Tuesday, 19 August 2014


From:        Hardy M. Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 17, 2014 at 8:36:51 AM EDT

Subject:    PBS Shakespeare Uncovered


PBS Shakespeare Uncovered can be streamed from links below:


The Tempest with Trevor Nunn

Hamlet with David Tennant

Richard II with Derek Jacobi

The Comedies with Joely Richardson

Henry IV & V with Jeremy Irons

Recent Additions to Lexicons of Early Modern English

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.346  Tuesday, 19 August 2014


From:        UTP Journals < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 18, 2014 at 10:48:39 AM EDT

Subject:    Recent Additions to Lexicons of Early Modern English


Recently added to Lexicons of Early Modern English


§  Stephen Batman, "A note of Saxon wordes" (1581)

§  Edmund Bohun, Geographical Dictionary (1693): 11,681 word-entries

§  Richard Boothby, A Brief Discovery or Description of the Most Famous Island of Madagascar (1646)

§  Thomas Dekker, O per se O (1612)

§  John Heydon, "A Chymical Dictionary" (English; 1662): 70 word-entries.

§  Gregory Martin, The New Testament of the English College of Rheims (1582)

§  Gerhard Mercator, Historia Mundi Or Mercator's Atlas (1635)

§  Guy Miège, A New Dictionary French and English, with another English and French (1677): 18,376 word-entries, 73,641 sub-entries

§  John Ogilby, Asia, the First Part (1673)

§  John Rider,  Bibliotheca Scholastica (English-Latin, 1589): 42,000 word-entries and sub-entries.

§  Richard Rowlands,  A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities (1605; Richard Verstegan; text replaced by an extended and analyzed version)

§  Nicholas Stone, Enchiridion of Fortification (1645)

§  John Thorie, The Theatre of the Earth (1601; place-names): 3,100 word-entries.

§  John Turner, A Book of Wines (1568)


Coming soon to LEME 

§  Ortus Vocabulorum (Latin-English, 1500): 25,500 word-entries.

§  Henry Hexham, A Copious English and Netherdutch Dictionary (1647): 33,000 word-entries.


Lexicons of Early Modern English is a growing historical database offering scholars unprecedented access to early books and manuscripts documenting the growth and development of the English language. With more than 600,000 word-entries from 184 monolingual, bilingual, and polyglot dictionaries, glossaries, and linguistic treatises, encyclopedic and other lexical works from the beginning of printing in England to 1702, as well as tools updated annually, LEME sets the standard for modern linguistic research on the English language. 


Use Modern Techniques to Research Early Modern English!

199 Searchable lexicons

148 Fully analyzed lexicons

664 546 Total word entries

444 971 Fully analyzed word entries

573 423 Total analyzed forms and subforms

444 972 Total analyzed forms

128 451 Total analyzed subforms

60 891 Total English modern headwords


LEME provides exciting opportunities for research for historians of the English language. More than a half-million word-entries devised by contemporary speakers of early modern English describe the meaning of words, and their equivalents in languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and other tongues encountered then in Europe, America, and Asia.


University of Toronto Press Journals

5201 Dufferin St., Toronto, ON, Canada M3H 5T8

Tel: (416) 667-7810 Fax: (416) 667-7881

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Shakespeare and Science

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.345  Monday, 11 August 2014


[1] From:         Kirk McElhearn < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         August 8, 2014 at 10:58:57 AM EDT

     Subject:      Book Review: The Science of Shakespeare


[2] From:         John Briggs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         August 11, 2014 at 10:39:21 AM EDT

     Subject:      Re: SHAKSPER: Shakespeare and Science 




From:         Kirk McElhearn < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 8, 2014 at 10:58:57 AM EDT

Subject:      Book Review: The Science of Shakespeare


Book Review: The Science of Shakespeare, by Dan Falk


There’s always room for books aimed at the general public examining some obscure element of Shakespeare’s life or thought. Since we don’t know much about his life, or his thought – other than through the plays – there’s plenty of speculation in books like this. Some succeed in being interesting and thought-provoking; and some don’t.


Dan Falk’s The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe (, Amazon UK) looks at Shakespeare in the context of the “scientific revolution” that took place following the Renaissance. Born the same year as Galileo, Shakespeare lived at a time when a new understanding of the universe, and of certain types of what we now call science, was taking shape. Falk, a science writer and Shakespeare buff, sets out to juxtapose the two: the new science of the 16th and early 17th centuries, and the plays of Shakespeare. As often with books like this, there is a lot of trying to fit a not-quite-round peg into a square hole.


First, the title is misleading; the book is not really about “science” as such; it is mostly about astronomy, and the history of the changes from the geocentric model of the universe to the heliocentric model, ushered in by Copernicus. Falk discusses this at length, going through the genealogy of universe revolutionizers from Copernicus to some English astronomers that Shakespeare may have encountered, either in the flesh or through books. There are many tenuous suppositions, but that’s the nature of most books about Shakespeare. He “may have” met so-and-so; he “might have” read a certain book; “perhaps” he knew a specific person. There’s lots of circumstantial evidence bandied about, and a great deal of attention to one scholar, Peter Usher, who seems to have discovered that, by playing some of the plays backwards at 45 rpm, one can see that Shakespeare was writing about the Copernican view of the universe; that Hamlet, in fact, is about nothing other than this topic.


We don’t even hear much about Shakespeare until page 116. There are a few brief mentions of him, but Falk goes on tediously about each of the people who contributed to the new understanding of the universe; certainly an interesting subject, in a book dealing solely with that topic, but it gets a bit tired here.

[ . . . ]






From:         John Briggs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 11, 2014 at 10:39:21 AM EDT

Subject:      Re: SHAKSPER: Shakespeare and Science


Gerald E. Downs wrote:


>I want to agree with Capell (a good judge) that Theobald’s

>‘beatified’ works best metrically and meaningfully. It’s hard

>to see why the “phrase” is vile unless it insults Catholic usage; 

>but th’OED doesn’t cite it early enough.


We’ve been through this before (e.g. SHK 15.1106): it’s a clear reference to “an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers” – the more apt because Steve Sohmer had already pointed out that Shakespeare himself played Polonius.


John Briggs

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 3

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.