Valentine’s Day

Shakespeare in Action- 2015 at a glance!

Happy New Year, everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful and restful holiday season. The Shakespeare in Action team is officially back to work today, and we cannot wait to get started on all of the exciting projects we have lined up for the first half of 2015! Here is a sneak peak at what’s coming up!

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TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club

Winter Session- Saturdays, January 31 – March 7, 2015

  • free readers’ theatre program for kids ages 7-12!
  • Explore plays such as The Comedy of ErrorsMacbeth, A Midsummer Night’s DreamRomeo & JulietThe Tempest, and Twelfth Night.
  • Read aloud and play drama games and meet other Shakespeare fans!
  • Led by professional actors and educators.
  • Visit  the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club page for locations and details!

O - Shakespeare in Action - Shakespeare Challenge - 2013 - The Island is Full of Noises

The Shakespeare Challenge

March 25, 2015 at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto

Purchase a ticket for the Shakespeare Challenge Gala Fundraiser and join us for:

  • An abridged version of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errorsperformed by a cast of courageous community members! (We have opened new spots in the cast, and the deadline to register is January 9th! Find out how to register here.)
  • Food, drink, and live music following the show!
  • A live and silent auction of fabulous items and packages!
  • The chance to give youth in priority neighborhoods across Toronto access to the arts through our subsidized ticket program!

hamlet-stage-photo

On the Mainstage: Hamlet

April 13-24, 2015

Our most recent production of Hamlet returns to the mainstage this Spring! This dreamlike production incorporates mask puppets and shadow play to create a visually rich and engaging show while staying true to Shakespeare’s text. Teen audiences will fall in love with our dark and brooding Hamlet as he perseveres to find the truth. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Visit our Hamlet page for prices and booking info!

shakespeare-meets-hip-hop-marcel-stewart

On Tour: Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop

May 4- May 15, 2015

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop is a vibrant, interactive presentation that demonstrates how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with the themeslanguage and rhythm used by Shakespeare. Both are full of poetry, word play and lyricism and both deal with what it is to be human.

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop brings alive the parallels between the world of the plays and their own contemporary experience. It’s the perfect complement to your in-class teaching of a specific play, in the beginning, in the middle or at the end. Visit our Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop page for booking info!

If you have any questions regarding our upcoming shows and events, please feel free to send us an e-mail, or call us at (416) 703-4881!

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Romeo and Juliet Blu-Ray Giveaway- Congratulations!

Let’s offer a huge congratulations to Jennifer WB from Toronto, ON for winning a copy of Romeo and Juliet on Blu-Ray! As promised, we will be sharing her poem on our blog!

The poem is called Your Love.

Your Love is like a river.
Constantly moving,
Adding to the wondrous beauty around.
Your love is eternal,
Just like mine is for you.

Jennifer, we will be contacting you shortly to confirm your mailing details! Thanks to everyone who entered the contest, and a HUGE thanks to our friends at DFilms for providing the prize!

Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids- A Family Tradition

Shakespeare in Action’s Sonnets by Kids program has been bringing the bard to poetry-lovers everywhere for three years’ worth of Valentine’s Days now. As the big day draws closer once again, and our Sonnet Kids make their final preparations to spout sonnets to your sweeties, we wanted to take some time to reflect on how this program has touched the lives of everyone who participates in it: from the kids who read the sonnets, to the patrons who give the gift of poetry to their loved ones, to the volunteers and staff here at Shakespeare in Action who make the program a reality.

Alania Weisdorf has purchased Sonnets by Kids for her loved ones every year since the program’s inception. We asked Alania what the program means to her:

“With regards to my story, we got married at Toronto City Hall and Sonnet 116 was read at the end of the ceremony. Then a few years back, sometime in February, the National Post featured an article on gift ideas for Valentine’s and that’s how I found out about Sonnets by Kids. Since then, it has become a tradition in our family. To me, the message in the sonnet is a meaningful and lasting gift that I want to share with my family and friends.”

Sonnets by Kids has also had important impact on our Sonnet Kids. Every year in 30 different library branches across the GTA, SIA runs TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club, a free readers’ theatre program for young people. And every year we invite the most enthusiastic, the most excited, the most dedicated Library Club students to become Sonnet Kids. SIA’s education team works closely with the Sonnet Kids to teach them about Shakespeare’s sonnets: what the words mean, how the rhythm of the poetry flows, how best to deliver a line, etc.

We asked some of our Sonnet Kids what they liked about Library Club and Sonnet by Kids. Sonnet Kid Temina Tova (age 12) liked the programs because she was able to develop her acting skills, and learning Shakespeare’s plays and poetry gave her confidence at school.

The best part for Sonnet Kid Spencer (age 8) was being able to share the poems he had learned with his friends and family.

For Sonnet Kid Audrey (age 9), it was the fact that these programs united all of her passions:

“I love Library Club because I love acting, and I love reading, and I love libraries, and I love books, and I love Shakespeare, and other people.”

And in all this reflection, how could we not hear from the brains of the operation, our wonderful and dedicated Education Coordinator, Laboni?

“For me, the program celebrates poetry and kids!  I love meeting them, helping them learn, learning from them, and seeing their confidence build and build.  In the bigger picture, I enjoy linking all of our kids’ programming – TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club, Sonnets by Kids, and Summer Camp – to create a Shakespeare Family.  It’s special having these kids grow up with us and hearing their younger siblings say: ‘I want to learn Shakespeare too!’”

So, from our Shakespeare family to yours, happy Valentine’s Day!

Sonnets will be available for purchase until 5PM on February 13, so be sure to order yours now!

Shakespeare Relationship Stats- Hermia and Lysander

Our next installment of the Shakespeare Relationship Stats series belongs to Hermia and Lysander from A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

Occupation

Lysander: star-crossed lover
Hermia:  rebellious daughter

Family status
Lysander: young nobleman
Hermia: daughter of Egeus

Reputation
Lysander: “I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possess’d; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius’;
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?” Lysander’s opinion, Act 1, Scene 1

Hermia: “Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue’s sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching: O, were favour so,
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;
My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I’d give to be to you translated.
O, teach me how you look, and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart.” Helena’s opinion, Act 1 Scene 1

What they wanted from this relationship

Lysander:
“A good persuasion: therefore, hear me, Hermia.
I have a widow aunt, a dowager
Of great revenue, and she hath no child:
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues;
And she respects me as her only son.
There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
And to that place the sharp Athenian law
Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me then,
Steal forth thy father’s house to-morrow night;
And in the wood, a league without the town,
Where I did meet thee once with Helena,
To do observance to a morn of May,
There will I stay for thee.” Act 1, Scene 1

Hermia:
“My good Lysander!
I swear to thee, by Cupid’s strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head,
By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,
By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
And by that fire which burn’d the Carthage queen,
When the false Troyan under sail was seen,
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke,
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.” Act 1, Scene 1

Top 3 bumps on the way to true love
1. Demetrius’s love for Hermia poses a problem when Egeus chooses him as suitor for Hermia, despite her wishes to marry Lysander.

2. In response to Hermia’s refusal to marry Demetrius, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law whereby a daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father, or else face death.

3. Lysander, falling victim to a miscast love spell on the eve of his elopement to Hermia, falls in love with Helena when she wakes him.

Happily ever after
When the love spell is removed from Lysander, he declares his love for Hermia. As Demetrius loves Helena, Theseus overrules Egeus’ request to invoke the Athenian law, and arranges a group wedding!

Will it last?
Hermia’s love is withstanding, even when she believes Lysander has fallen for Helena. Once the spell is removed from Lysander, he declares that he loves Hermia. As long as no other misdirected love spells are cast, I think this one will continue to be happily ever after.

SIA Poll- Which Shakespeare character would you want to be your Valentine?

Shakespeare is known for creating some of the most famous (yet sometimes, tragic) lovers in literature. Would you want any of them to be your Valentine? Take the poll!

Give your real Valentine a unique gift this Valentine’s Day- Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids! They are selling fast, so be sure to get yours now!

SIA is also celebrating Valentine’s Day with our friends at DFilms with a Romeo and Juliet DVD and Blu-Ray Giveaway!

Shakespeare Relationship Stats- Kate and Petruchio

What better way to kick off the week leading up to Valentine’s Day than with a look at the love stats of one of Shakespeare’s most famous couples- Kate and Petruchio from The Taming of the Shrew!

Occupation
Petruchio: Gold-digger
Kate: Shrew

Family status
Petruchio: Recently orphaned
Kate: Elder daughter, Daddy’s second favourite

Reputation
Petruchio: “Why, he’s a devil, a devil, a very fiend.” (Gremio’s opinion, 3.2.154)
Kate: “Why, she’s a devil, a devil, the devil’s dam” (Tranio’s opinion, 3.2.155)

What they wanted from this relationship
Petruchio:
“I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily then happily in Padua.” (1.2.74-75)

“…we have ‘greed so well together
That upon Sunday is the wedding day” (2.1.190-191

Kate: “I’ll see thee hanged on Sunday first” (2.1.192)

How they met
It was quite a rocky start for these two. Both Katherine and Petruchio have…strong opinions, which get them into explosive situations. But on the upside, their first conversation is also their first fight (2.1.182-271), so that’s one relationship hurdle over and done with!

Top 3 bumps on the way to true love
1. The day they meet
There is friction in their relationship right from the beginning. Petruchio is in it for the money, while Kate isn’t in it for anything. In fact, she’d much prefer that it didn’t happen at all. She puts up a good fight, but as we are in the Elizabethan era, and she is the daughter of a wealthy gentleman with a reputation to protect, it’s her word against Petruchio’s. And he has no problem bending the truth to Kate’s father, Old Baptista:

“O, the kindest Kate!
She hung about my neck, and kiss on kiss
She vied so fast, protesting oath on oath,
That in a twink she won me her love.” (2.1.300-303)

2. The wedding
For a wedding that was thrown together by the bride’s family in the space of a week, very little of the drama is on Kate’s end. Petruchio shows up late, dressed in raggedy mismatched clothes, swears through the ceremony, assaults the priest, knocks back a bottle of wine and spews it in his guests’ faces. Not exactly anyone’s idea of a fairytale wedding.

3. The “honeymoon”
In true Petruchio fashion, he abuses his servants, sends away perfectly good food, spends all night making their bed and loudly complaining, “and amid this hurly [he intends] / That all is done in reverent care of her” (4.1.189-190).

Happily ever after
At the point when Petruchio tries to convince Kate that the burning midday day sun is, in fact, the moon, she finally give sin and accepts the fact that she has married a madman. Petruchio’s prediction at the beginning of the play that “where two raging fires meet together, / They do consume the thing that feeds their fury” (2.1.132-33) has finally come true, and these two raging fires live madly ever after.

Will it last?
Who better to set the devil up with than the devil’s dam? The (hell)fire of love between Kate and Petruchio is an eternal flame.

Sonnets by Kids- A 7 year-olds translation of Sonnet #18

SONNET 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often in his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

7-YEAR-OLD’S TRANSLATION

You’re a wonderful person…
When the seasons pass[,] you change.
Your heart will not fade because I write…
Your heart won’t die because you’ll live in the poem.

Give the gift of poetry this Valentine’s Day!
For more information or to purchase a sonnet, click here.