Friday, September 13, 2013

An Inside Look: Nebraska Shakespeare On Tour Twelfth Night

Tales from inside the Pirate Ship

Shakespeare Editions from Vincent's massive collection
         In the first week of April 2012, long before the opening of Nebraska Shakespeare’s Shakespeare On The Green Season of Twelfth Night and Titus Andronicus, Artistic Director Vincent Carlson-Brown was already working on the company’s fall production, Twelfth Night On Tour. The fall tour needs a reduced cast of 8 actors playing multiple roles in addition to a trimmed, 75-min cutting from the original Shakespeare text so the production will easily fit into school schedules. 
        Using an array of Twelfth Night editions, Vincent adapted the script and formulated a concept (18th Century British Isles).  The next step was casting.  In late June, with Shakespeare on the Green in full swing, Vincent turned his attention to Twelfth Night On Tour and on July 2nd held auditions at Creighton University’s Lied Center.
           Finding the right cast for Nebraska Shakespeare’s touring productions is a challenge. Not only was Vincent looking for the best actors for the parts, he also had to keep in mind the needs of a touring education company.  The cast must perform several times a day; each time loading a set in and out, in addition to teaching workshops for high school and middle school students. Positive personalities, good work ethics and education experience must be taken into consideration as well as talent.

         After the audition was complete and following two weeks of casting contemplation, the Twelfth Night company was set. Contracts, scripts and a Letter from the Director were sent to the cast.  Even with rehearsals almost a full month away, the On Tour company started the work. 

-Actors studied their text and memorized their lines. (Vincent requires all actors to be off-book for the first rehearsal)

-Songs were adapted and arranged using Shakespeare’s text. The ukulele is the instrument of choice in our production, so chords and tunes were made.

-Tour Booking Continued- Focusing on bringing this awesome production to as many schools and communities as possible in our 4 weeks of performances (September 29th- October 25th).

-Director, Vincent, and Stage Manager, Wesley, began meeting with the production team to discuss concept and design for the show.




       Nebraska Shakespeare was thrilled to have local professionals, Lindsay Pape and Bill Van Deest on board as designers for Twelfth Night On Tour 2013. Every year, designing the set for the tour is challenging, and this year was no exception. Vincent wanted a shipwreck on stage. Bill Vandeest designed a gorgeous set that is not only visually striking and functional for the production, but it also breaks into pieces and fits perfectly into a moving truck to be transported all over Nebraska. 


        The costumes: Actors play multiple characters with very quick changes in-between. The costumes must be built strong enough that they can withstand the multiple performances and travels of the tour. Lindsay designed amazing, colorful and stylish costumes to support the 18th Century British Isles concept (Pirates!).


     After the months of preparation, the First Rehearsal occurred this past Sunday, September 8th. The company finally assembled for the design presentation and first read of the script.

This is where the fun begins. 

         7 hours a day of rehearsals and workshop training at the Salvation Army Kroc Center is both exhilarating and exhausting. With the set taped out on the floor and crates and barrels littering the space, swashbuckling ensues. Vincent quickly pushes the pace of rehearsals, blocking the entire show within the first four days. Once the shape of the story is set he will polish and perfect every moment in the production. The first week completed today with a full run of the 75 minute show. We only met 5 days ago...

         Stay tuned for more tour insight from our company over the next few weeks. Visit Our Website for the full touring schedule.

“I shall have share in this most happy wrack.”- Orsino, Twelfth Night Act 5 Scene 1

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