Lee: Greetings all, we’re back. I’m Lee Gundersheimer.
Doug And I’m Doug Scholz-Carlson.
Lee: And together we are the Great River Guys.
Doug Those of you who have followed this column for the first two weeks know that we are the new executive team at the Great River Shakespeare Festival.
Lee: We’re here to keep you up to date on all things Shakespearean.
Doug And all things Winonan. Congratulations on the success of the Live at the Levee - I hear you had a lot to do with getting that concert off the ground.
Lee: Yep, with help from many individuals and arts groups around Winona. That kind of collaboration is what is rapidly making Winona an
Arts Destination for the region. But it’s almost Halloween. We are here to talk about fear this week - specifically, fear of Shakespeare.
Doug You lost me - great stories, beautiful language, big ideas - what’s to be afraid of?
Lee: Well, you remember high school English class Doug- being forced to read Shakespeare. Sometimes out loud. In front of everybody.
Doug Yes lots of strange words- thees and thous.
Lee: It can be scary.
Doug All right. I can see how all that heightened language might sound strange if you’re not used to hearing it, but fear?
Lee: Sure. Fear that you won’t get it, fear that it’s just plain old fashioned and strange, and worse, fear that you’ll be bored.
Doug I guess that’s fair enough. Shakespeare’s plays are challenging.
Frankly, it’s the challenge that I love. Listening to that heightened language makes you think hard. Sometimes it leaves you without clear answers. It might even make you see the world differently.
Lee: True. How will Hamlet put it this summer? The purpose of playing is...
Doug “...to hold as ’twere the mirror up to nature: to show virtue her feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.”
Lee: Wow, you’re good.
Doug I looked it up.
Lee: Still. That can all be confusing.
Doug The play is going to make us look at ourselves. That’s what a great work of art does: it challenges us. So maybe everyone is right to be afraid.
Lee: Doug-- we were supposed to be relieving their fear. We want them to come see the show!
Doug Most of the best things we’ll ever do make us at least a little afraid at first.
Lee: So our new slogan is “GRSF: Be Afraid”?
Doug No, because we’re going to work hard in rehearsal to make sure the audience understands every word.
Lee: We’ll tell the stories clearly so they won’t get lost.
Doug And we’ll make sure everyone feels welcome in the theater.
Lee: After all this is your festival.
Doug One of our patrons is a thirteen year old boy that has come to the festival now for three seasons. He looks forward to it. All year long!
Lee: And another is a couple in their seventies who have said they always worried they wouldn’t get the plays. Someone gave them tickets and now they are hooked. They are addicted, wouldn’t miss a performance-
Doug Warning- our plays are habit forming!
Lee: Once you start, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll find yourself getting very carried away by these amazing stories!
Doug So step up to the challenge. Be afraid, but give it a try: come to the festival! Hear great music, enjoy the food, and then feed your soul!
Lee: And since this is your festival...
Doug Nice segue...
Lee: Come to the Stakeholder’s Meeting from 5 to 7 p.m on. Tuesday, November 4, at the Winona County History Center to eat, drink, socialize with friends, and hear more about our plans for the 2014 season.
Doug And look for us next week right here in the Post.