“Requiem Birthsong for William Shakespeare”

on the occasion of the 400th Anniversary of his passing

by Dan McCleary

(from Dan’s speech at this month’s TSC Gala)

“We see ourselves in the boy fishing for the first time.

In the woman much older now in her wheelchair.

We quietly revel in taking a moment to guide a young person we don’t know.

We all want to pass ourselves on.

We want to see ourselves in our leaders.

We want to see our values expressed in our city.

We need another person to reflect us.

But we also require the problem, the defeat, the death to take our focus from ourselves to others.

The plays of William Shakespeare are still produced more today, still read more today, than any other play. What he writes is intimate to him and personally developed. His craft, though, is in placing his focus on the self WITHIN his community, the religions that surround him, the political debates, the woods, the court, his country’s history, the world’s future, the cosmos.

As Shakespeare did 400 years ago this month, we will all die from this earth. We can have solace in this shared experience. These bodies, fellow travelers, will go. Ours are small material on a small planet in a galaxy of billions of stars among billions of other galaxies. Billions of years old and billions of years to go.

WE are finite.

Is it any wonder, then, that we all share an innate need to know ourselves, to know we must have an impact on the world and those around us and those to come. Of course. Of course we want to know how to act. Of course we feel the need to define ourselves, to make our little time on our little street huge and important and meaningful. Of course we need others to know us so we can feel we exist in the middle of the night when the rest of the street sleeps. Of course. So of course we construct theories and miracles and narratives that allow us to comprehend our existence and our passing.

For many of us, Shakespeare provides this narrative, but also the embrace of mystery.

In Shakespeare’s poetic world, the true prophets are often madmen, the blind, the outsiders, the poor, the clowns, the fools. In his world, women and those in the minority not only achieve equality, they often lead the narrative, they forgive the men, they sacrifice. In his world, monsters, fairies, and murderers cry to dream again, cry for forgiveness, cry for humanity. Shakespeare awakens them to their true selves. He appeals to our collective unconscious.

Over four hundred years ago, England turned to William Shakespeare to teach its history and its new language.

Now, you and I turn to Shakespeare to give us language to articulate what might be madness, what might be fantasy, what might possibly be peace. His endurance lies in his multiplicity of ideas and arguments, together with his poetic restraint from imposing his answers on them. The poet in him respects you and me 400 years after his death. You and I turn to Shakespeare in order to recognize the beauty in what is naturally so, to recognize our natural compulsion to human compassion.

You and I speak as we speak, think as we think, love as we love, act as we do (or don’t) in part because of William Shakespeare.

In this moment, we honor his time on Earth.

It is with this passion and spirit that Tennessee Shakespeare Company was born here, and why eight years later we steadily grow, seeking now a permanent home.
William Shakespeare is for everyone.

The End.”

News

  • Fantastical Summer Camps
  • Our 10th Anniversary Gala
  • The Shakespeare Brunch is Back
  • Flannery O’Connor: Georgia Gothic

Enroll Your Child Today in TSC’s
Fantastical SUMMER CAMPS at Hutchison School

CHOOSE FROM THREE CAMPS:

 

pic flyer summercamp2017bSOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

For girls and boys entering grades 7-12

It’s Halloween in June! Confront your fear! No, not of Shakespeare, but come face-to-face with the mysterious and fantastical characters - human and inhuman - that enliven Shakespeare’s greatest works. Campers will learn what it takes to make Shakespeare really scary. This two- week camp will conclude with a camper showcase of ghosts, monsters, and visions.

JUNE 12-23
MONDAY-FRIDAY, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
COST: $500

 

BE A SPRITE!

For girls and boys entering grades JK-1

Explore the magical characters and incidents that populate A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest. Developing their characters and mastering Shakespeare through song, fairy games, and mask and costume making, campers will present their fantastic achievements in an end-of-camp showcase.

JULY 31 – AUGUST 4
MONDAY-FRIDAY, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
COST: $200

 

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH:
SHAKESPEARE’S CLOWNS

For girls and boys entering grades 2-6

Meet and become one of Shakespeare’s clowns! Explore and master the physical and verbal comedy and scenes that occur in almost all of Shakespeare’s work. Whether you want to be sad, happy, bumbling, or pompous, Shakespeare has a part for you. Campers show off in an antic showcase at camp’s end.

JULY 31 – AUGUST 4
MONDAY-FRIDAY, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
COST: $275­­­­

FOR MORE INFORMATION: EDUCATION@TNSHAKESPEARE.ORG OR (901) 759-0620.

Download the Summer Camps Registration Form.

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Save the Date for Our 10th Anniversary Gala

We are saving a table for YOU to join us for our 10th Anniversary Season Gala!  Mark your calendar now for Saturday, April 7, 2018, when we bring you a celebratory evening of performance and dinner in the beautiful ballroom of the Memphis Hilton.

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pic the winters tale 2016 Photo: Elliot LaPlante. Kelli Radwanski Photography

Back by popular demand:

The Shakespeare Brunch

Join us for an elegant Sunday brunch, drinks, and an abbreviated Shakespeare reading in a beautiful indoor setting. Acted by some of your favorite TSC players, the reading is preceded by a delicious and thematic buffet with cash bar. Your $40 ticket includes the buffet and reading.

title the winters tale

by William Shakespeare

Sunday, November 20

12:30-3:30 pm
directed by Stephanie Shine
at The Memphis Hunt and Polo Club
Host Members: Margaret and Owen Tabor


Shakespeare’s late romance features a Bohemian rhapsody of near-magical redemption and forgiveness, featuring over 20 professional actors, including Carey Urban, Tony Molina, Darius Wallace, Stephanie Shine, and Dan McCleary.

Attire: cocktail/business casual.

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pic Flannery OConnorSouthern Literary Salon features
Flannery O’Connor: Georgia Gothic on April 21

Tennessee Shakespeare Company continues its popular Southern Literary Salon on April 21 with one of the more shocking American voices of the 20th Century – Flannery O’Connor.

Presented inside and outdoors at the spacious private home of Drew and Melia Murphy in Germantown (the site of previous Salons on Faulkner and Hemingway), Flannery O’Connor: Georgia Gothic runs 6:00–8:00 pm.

The evening features light Southern food, conversation, music, 45 minutes or so of readings from Ms. O’Connor’s works, and a mixed spirit of the author’s dis-liking (she preferred her coca-cola spiked with coffee).

Tickets are only are $55 and include all of the above.  Seating is very limited.

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Tennessee Shakespeare Company is generously supported by:

Boyle         FedEx         Tennessee Arts Commission

International Paper             University of Memphis  logo-arts-memphis



     First Tenneessee Foundation    

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Individual Season Sponsors:

Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund; Nancy Copp; Ernest, Pat, Martha, and Marian Kelly; Milton T. Schaeffer; The Family of Owen and Margaret Tabor;
Ann and Wellford Tabor.

Season Partners:

Boyle Investment Company, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Hutchison School, Shelby County Schools, St. George’s Church, The University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a proud member of:
Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence       ArtsMemphis    logo-gacc          Tennesseans for the Arts     Tennessee Theatre Association     Where We Live