- Saturday, August 25, 2007, 6 p.m.
- Steamboat Yacht Club, 811 Yampa Ave., Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs Turns out, Shakespeare didn't intend for his plays to have so many props. Or to be especially highbrow. Or really, to be rehearsed.
On Saturday and Sunday, No Holds Bard will perform two of the preeminent playwright's works - "Hamlet" and "Much Ado About Nothing" - on the lawn of the Steamboat Yacht Club. Both shows are free and start at 6 p.m.
The performances will be done, says event organizer and Steamboat resident Matt Burditt, as Shakespeare meant them to be done: "Their (the company's) mission is to perform Shakespeare as it was intended, in the round and interacting with the audience. Shakespeare performances can be really dry sometimes, and these guys make it lively."
No Holds Bard uses the first texts of Shakespeare's plays, said company manager Kate Kissingford. Those texts retain in all the little cues that have been edited out throughout the years: odd spellings and punctuations that were meant as clues for how the actors should perform. Company members rehearse individually, and have an onstage prompter as a safety net for dropped lines.
For the Bard's company, keeping performances lively by doing 10 or more different plays in a few weeks, Kissingford said, was key. "They literally had no time to rehearse - they were like the multiplex of their time."
The competition for audiences' attention was fierce, and often lewd - "bear baiting and whorehouses" were popular choices, Kissingford said. To draw crowds, Shakespeare's plays needed to be varied, and subtly crude. "It's sort of down and dirty Shakespeare," she said, adding that most of the off color humor goes over the heads of children.
Burditt said he hopes the event, dubbed "Shakespeare on the Lawn," will become an annual one. "I thought it was a super cool thing and I was surprised that we didn't already have one here in Steamboat," he said.
So, Burditt, who moved to Steamboat in May, put up his own money to bring No Holds Bard, and their theater-in-the-round shows, to town. He found the venue (something grassy, which the Yacht Club satisfied), found a place for the actors to stay (not his house, thanks to Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel), even arranged a rain location (the back of the Yacht Club).
The end result, Kissingford said, will be "really fast-paced, deliberately engaged with the audience. It's really not this sort of high culture people are used to with Shakespeare."