Shakespeare’s audience was an unruly bunch who came for the bear-baiting and stayed to check out the tragedy. Shakespeare’s actors had no director. They rehearsed only the fights and dances. They got their lines and their cues, they screwed their courage to the sticking place, and tried to tell the truth.
This is where we take our inspiration. We read the play aloud as a company once, we memorize our parts, and we have one company rehearsal. We are as recklessly playful with the text as we are deadly serious. We have no director and we perform in bars. For free. For you!
We don’t have directors. We rely on the enthusiasm and discipline of the actors. But we do seek greatness. We seek after the heart of Shakespeare’s text: hot blooded, reckless, light hearted and generous. These are the values that guide us:
Clarity: Make us understand what you say.
Authenticity: Say it in your own voice. (No. Really.)
Actuality: React to what is actually happening in the room.
Courage: Do not be afraid.
Generosity: Serve the whole play, not just your bit.
Velocity: Move forward at the speed of thought.
Often, we ask the audience who best lived up to a particular value. That person is presented with the Mason Jar Award: a mason jar that represents either our home base in California, our Chicago roots, or the sweetness of the text.