NEXT UP: JAMES BEAMAN PLAYS THE GHOST AND THE LEAD PLAYER IN "HAMLET, THE BAD QUARTO" WITH TAFFETY PUNK THEATRE COMPANY AT THE FOLGER THEATRE, AUGUST 6 IN DC!
Those of you who know my work know that my first and most enduring love is the classical theatre and acting Shakespeare. I had the honor and privilege of training in classical acting at The Shakespeare Theatre Company Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University, and since then I have had the chance to do some exciting roles and powerful Shakespeare productions.
I am especially proud of my work with Taffety Punk Theatre Company, an exciting cutting edge theatre in Washington, DC, founded by fellow ACA alumnus Marcus Kyd and his multi-talented partner, Lise Bruneau. For several years now, one of the most popular of their projects has been the Bootleg Shakespeare series, in which members of the Taffety Punk company and guest actors from around the country arrive at the Folger Theatre on the morning of the single performance of a Shakespeare play, having memorized their lines. The day is spent doing rudimentary staging, fight choreography and dances, and at show time, with the actors never having run through any of the play, a an audience packs the house, free of charge, and the actors catapult themselves into a breathtaking, impromptu performance. I have had the pleasure of performing Posthumus in Cymbeline, Hubert in King John, Theseus in The Two Noble Kinsmen and this year I will perform the roles of the Ghost of Hamlet's Father and the Lead Player in Hamlet: The Bad Quarto.
The Bad Quarto, as it is termed by scholars, is the first published version of Hamlet which appeared in 1603. Since the First Folio of 1623 is considered the authoritative text for the canon of Shakespeare's plays, and the Bad Quarto of Hamlet differs significantly from the Folio text (character names are different, there are significant differences in the text etc.), it is thought to be a possibly pirated version of the play, taken down haphazardly by someone during live performances, or possibly drawn from early actor 'sides' from a beginning stage of the play's development. At any rate, it's a fascinating and sometimes bizarre look at the most famous play in the English language. Taffety Punk, drawing its inspiration from a devotion to classic texts combined with a punk rock sensibility, is the perfect company to present this odd and interesting artifact, and the Bootleg Shakespeare project will give it even more vital life and energy.
I am looking forward to enjoying the interesting task of being both the Ghost of Hamlet's Father and the Lead Player who represents the murdered Hamlet Senior in the play-within-the-play. I think the dual role might be very interesting and effective for the audience.
As of now, this one night only event is the only project on the docket for me beyond MAME at Goodspeed. Ah, the uncertainty of the actor's life! Check this blog for updates and announcements of the next creative adventure. Meantime, for more information on the amazing work of Taffety Punk and details on Hamlet, visit their website here.