An early summer night’s scream | SteamboatToday.com

An early summer night’s scream

Shakespeare on the Green embraces the Bard's bawdy side

Margaret Hair

Genah Burditt is the organizer of Shakespeare on the Green.

— When Genah and Matt Burditt brought No Holds Bard to Steamboat Springs for the first time in August 2007, the production had about as much preparation and promotion as an authentic Shakespeare play – which is to say not very much.

Despite the inaugural event’s last-minute location, about 500 people showed up in two nights of free performances. It’s a testament, Genah Burditt said, to the common appeal of seeing a Shakespeare play performed as it was meant to be performed.

“They just take a really lighthearted approach, an improvisational and interactive approach,” Burditt said of No Holds Bard’s methods for putting on classic plays with minimal rehearsals and an emphasis on entertainment.

“The idea is that it’s supposed to be fun. A lot of Shakespeare has dark humor running throughout the play that a lot of audiences today might not catch,” Burditt said. By learning their parts individually and limiting rehearsals to fight scenes, the players in No Holds Bard take subtle cues from unedited scripts to bring the playwright’s darker, lewder side back to life.

“I think it’s appealing to a broader audience. You don’t have to have an ethereal intellect to understand it,” Burditt said. The two-night event, with performances of “Macbeth” and “Twelfth Night,” has increased sponsorship this year, including contributions from Epilogue Book Co., Steamboat Biodiesel, Marabou, Jump-Innovations and the city of Steamboat Springs. Burditt said she would like for Shakespeare on the Green to become a fundraiser for community organizations, instead of just being self-sustaining.

Erica Fogue, owner of Epilogue Book Co., said she decided to get involved with the event after seeing last year’s performances.

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“We were really excited to be involved, because it was such a great community event, and it was a really interesting way to present Shakespeare,” Fogue said. On Wednesday morning, Epilogue manager Josh Karzen toyed with slogans to put under a tentative logo for the event, a play on a skull-and-crossbones featuring the Bard’s head and two quills.

At the head of the pack of possible event taglines was a modern nod to No Holds Bard’s embrace of Shakespeare’s sense of humor: “Prose before hos.”