Monologue for a crisis
In April, as COVID-19 restrictions wore on from weeks to months, it became increasingly clear that the Colorado Shakespeare Festival would have to be postponed for the first time in over 60 years. In spite of this devastating news, the CSF staff knew that they needed to spring into action and find a way to stay connected with both the festival’s audience and its actors.
“We began to realize that many of our actors had lost months of work,” CSF director Tim Orr explained. “This was coupled with the understanding that if we didn’t have a way to connect with our audiences, we would essentially go dark for 14 months”.
The CSF 2020 summer video series cleverly tackles both of these challenges. Donors generously funded the digital series not only to share the content widely, but also to support the artists who agreed to give so graciously of their time and talent. Videos of these artists’ at-home performances have been posted weekly since June 18, giving patrons a chance to enjoy the pathos and wit of the Bard (and others) from the safety and comfort of their homes.
“Many of the submissions were lighthearted and even wacky,” Orr says. “We weren’t really sure what to expect as we gave the actors free rein for their interpretations, but we’ve been blown away by everything we’ve seen so far.”
The submissions range from a moving original song written for CSF’s 2019 production of “As You Like It” to a brilliantly absurd St. Crispin’s Day speech from “Henry V.” Each performance is a gem unto itself, intimately bringing together the dynamism of the actors with the power of the text. Although the pandemic has upended all expectations, one thing is for sure: through its summer video series, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival continues its legacy of luminous and gripping performances that have brought audiences back time and time again.
CSF 2021 season tickets will go on sale Oct. 26, 2020
CSF 2021 single tickets will go on sale Nov. 30, 2020