21 May 2013

“Brush up on your Shakespeare/Start quoting him now/Brush up on your Shakespeare/And the women will go wow...”

Anyone else remember that from “Kiss Me, Kate?” I first the lines first in some other context when I was little... like “Schoolhouse Rock” or something like that, but I always loved it.  I read “Taming of the Shrew” in high school and then finally saw “Kiss Me Kate” on Broadway (with the always incredible Brian Stokes Mitchell) in 1999 and loved how it brought Shakespeare alive.

One of my goals it to read the complete works of Shakespeare. I’m pretty convinced that 95% of the sayings we’ve carried into modern times come either from the Bible or from one of Shakespeare’s plays. 

A few days ago, my friend Jack, who is a show runner now, but started as an actor who trained at Juilliard, told me about the Independent Shakespeare Co., a theater troupe that is dedicated to bringing classic plays to as wide an audience as possible.  ISC’s mission, according to its website, is also to present plays with as diverse a cast as possible.  ISC started in New York with a production of “Henry V,” staged for $800. The company moved to L.A. in 2001 and now works with L.A. City’s Department of Cultural Affairs to produce the Free Shakespeare festival, which drew 38,000 last year to Griffith Park. This year’s slate is “She Stoops To Conquer,” (they’ve clearly moved beyond Shakespeare); “MacBeth” and “As You Like It.” 

ISC also has a small performance space where it presents re-interpretations and experimental versions of classic plays. ISC also offers acting classes, including a 3-hour tutorial to learn lyrical verse speaking. 

Though ISC has some corporate sponsors, the majority of its funding comes from individuals and they need money. They have a fundraising campaign going on right now that ends June 2. They’re 54% of the way to their goal of $35,000.

ISC is one of those gems in Los Angeles that it’s too easy to know nothing about until it’s too late and they’re in trouble. What an incredible gift they provide to Angelenos. I’m so happy Jack told me about them.

Since it’s Chooseday Tuesday, today’s $10 goes to the Independent Shakespeare Company in Jack’s name. 

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  1. After reading your blog and doing my own research, I'm also donating $10 to the Independent Shakespeare Co. Thanks for doing good things!

  2. K-- Thank you for reading and thank you for giving. It's a great cause!