Reflections from mentor and TNT board member Angie Gardner
“…Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” (Twelfth Night)
How can a playwright from over 400 years ago still be relevant and valued today? Shakespeare’s stories are filled with universal truths on human existence and he had an exceptional gift for creating interesting, complex, and unique characters. His language is rich, his characters complex, and his stories are rich with basic themes: love, bravery, honor, identity, and etc. We can all associate or identify with some his characters and stories. His stories and characters engage us, transport us into they play, and inspire us to become better versions of ourselves. These are a few of the reasons Shakespeare is valued in modern day society.
I read a book earlier this year, Year of Yes; it is about one woman’s transformative year of saying, “yes” to projects, activities, and other life choices she would have otherwise declined. It was shortly after I read this book when I was approached to mentor TNT’s Shakespeare Intensive Workshop. Inspired by the book I just read and my commitment to my own year of yes, I said, “Yes.” I am particularly pleased to be a part of the mentoring team for this class. Fun and enthusiasm is how I live; it is only apt we turn to Shakespeare with the same philosophy. In the Shakespeare Intensive Workshop we will delve into TNT’s Play Theory while exploring the creative genius of Shakespeare. We will focus on developing, honing, and mastering a variety of skills necessary to perform Shakespearean plays successfully. This will all be done in a fun, enthusiastic, and encouraging way. Come join us as we embark on this wonderful adventure together. “Let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.” (Comedy of Errors)
TNT’s Play Theory:
Be Present: “Make use of time, let not advantage slip” (Venus and Adonis)
Life is an unending string of current moments. We exist only in the present. We forfeit the future by dwelling on the past. Although we must plan for the future and learn from the past we can live only in the present. Attention is a skill that improves communication and enhances perception helping us recognize and thus seize opportunities. Being present in the now alleviates the fear of the future (anxiety) and the regrets of the past (depression). Participants are taught to tend to the moment, listen to others, and be aware.
Let Go and Play: “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” (Measure for Measure)
Play lowers the stakes which encourages risk taking and allows for failure when attempting new skills. Mistakes become opportunities to learn when viewed with humility and an open mind. When we accept that errors are inevitable, we are more forgiving of ourselves and others. Laughter is potent medicine. Participants are taught to channel their inner child, leave their egos at the door, and have fun.
Say Yes And: “Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.” (Titus Andronicus)
Rather than blocking ideas and consequently opportunities, find the part of every offer that can be agreed with and say “yes” then add to it. Saying “Yes and” builds trust and encourages collaboration in relationships and is paramount to creativity. It is key to synergy in groups. Acceptance of others’ ideas before criticism validates and fosters enthusiasm. Participants are taught to build upon offers, have enthusiasm, and agree where possible.
Look Outward: “He is as full of valor as of kindness. Princely in both.” (Henry V)
Thinking of others and asking what is needed in every situation cultivates selflessness and improves our life experience. Thinking of others and focusing on how we can help cultivates confidence and security while self-focus invites comparisons, fueling fear and insecurity. Following this principle cultivates generosity, which is an essential component of joy.
Recognizing and meeting other’s needs also cultivates confidence and a sense of purpose, an essential component of joy. In contrast self-focus invites comparisons, fuels fear and insecurities. Serving others builds generosity and trust in relationships. Establishing this pattern among peers and associates is an invaluable asset in any organization or relationship.
Shakespeare Intensive Workshop details:
This brand new class, designed for high school freshman and newcomers to TNT Shakespeare, will help you learn to perform Shakespeare. It will be a theatrical experience, with a focus on diction, enunciation, projection, and learning to understand and communicate in Shakespeare’s language. PLAY THEORY will also be taught and practiced to increase the collaborative spirit that is a key component of TNT culture. Participation in this class is highly encouraged for those wishing to be a part of our Shakespeare in the Park productions in future years. Although taking this class does not guarantee placement in a future Shakespeare in the Park, it will definitely better prepare you for that opportunity. Engaging coaches will lead and mentor you in this not-to-be-missed opportunity.
Tuesdays 4:00-5:30 pm
January 23rd – May 1st (no class March 27)
To enroll, visit our website https://takenotetroupe.org/product/shakespeareintensive/