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WHEN: eight-weeks, Tuesday evenings 7–9:30 p.m., October 5 – November 23 WHERE: live bia Zoom FEE: $400 / $380 for returning students and STNJ subscribers SHARE THE EXPERIENCE WITH SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD, and you each save 25%!
To paraphrase the
Bard, “Once more open the scripts, dear friends, once more!”
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ)'s popular
Shakespeare Book Club returns this fall with WHAT A PIECE OF WORK: HAMLET
AND BEYOND. The Shakespeare Book Club unites Bardo-philes and
Shakespeare-novices via a lively, social, and informative exploration of
his plays. Participants are encouraged to read the plays as both
detectives and directors, deciphering Shakespeare's clues to more clearly
envision the multiple ways the plays may be interpreted.
When COVID shut down in-person programming last year, The Book
Club was able to expand participation through a new live digital format via
Zoom. By eliminating the obstacles of travel, distance, and health
concerns, a broader spectrum of theatre lovers are able to experience this
compelling series while connecting with others with similar interests; all
from the comfort of their own home.
HAMLET AND BEYOND: Shakespeare’s
chronically contemplative prince takes center stage in an exciting
exploration of the secrets, sins, and psychoses of the famed Danish
court. The series begins with Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Prince of
Denmark, where participants will unpack the thrills and challenges of
this riveting masterpiece, and also examine numerous stage and film
productions of the play. With Hamlet as the foundation, the series
goes on to explore provocative derivations, including Tom Stoppard’s
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and John Updike’s Gertrude and
Claudius, as well as other notable works.
“This is a series I’ve long wanted to explore with our
audiences,” says Brian B. Crowe, Director of Education and lead presenter
for the Book Club. “More than any of his other works, Shakespeare’s Hamlet
has inspired a vast array of compelling derivative literature, operas,
films, plays, and visual art that allow us to more deeply explore and
examine the play, society, and ourselves.”
Past Book Club participants have raved about how the inviting
and interactive approach that STNJ employs prevents it from feeling like
other Zoom sessions we have all endured during the pandemic. “It enriched
my life and was something I looked forward to each week,” said one
participant. “It was exciting, challenging, fun, and informative,”
said another. “What a delightful experience the Book Club was! This was one
positive experience to come out of the COVID debacle.”
Guest speakers for this series will include actors Maurice
Jones, Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte, and director Paul Mullins. Maurice
Jones played the title role in Chicago Shakespeare’s 2020 production of Hamlet,
which Chicago on Stage hailed as "Easily the finest Hamlet
I've seen in many years. Brilliant, thoughtful, often surprisingly funny.
One for the ages." Mr. Jones was last seen at STNJ as Clitandre
in the 2014 Outdoor Stage production of The Learned Ladies. Andrew
Ramcharan Guilarte played Claudius in Waterwell’s NYC 2017 production of Hamlet. This
production, set in Persia ca. 1910, was presented in both English and Farsi.
Longtime company member Paul Mullins has performed in and
directed over 50 productions at STNJ over the last three decades. His
much-heralded directorial credits at STNJ include his acclaimed production
of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
Participants can seek more information and/or register for the
Book Club at ShakespeareNJ.org. Included
with the enrollment fee are all scripts and materials, as well as access to
the Book Club website which includes a plethora of support materials, links
to videos, and a weekly archive of sessions for those who are unable to
attend any particular live session. Discounts are available for returning
students and multiple participants from the same household.
NEW FOR 2021 – SHAKESPEARE ALOUD: Now
that most in-person programming is possible again, we are supplementing
this fall’s Book Club with an in-person, two-session reading of HAMLET on
September 21 and 28 from 7–9:30 p.m. at the Thomas H. Kean Theatre Factory
in Florham Park, NJ. This relaxed gathering will provide an
opportunity for participants to read HAMLET aloud and hear the text come to
life before the Book Club begins. Light fare will be served for
participants. Enrollment is limited.