The Book Cellar
The Book Cellar is excited to welcome a founding member of The Backroom Shakespeare Company, Samuel Taylor, as he discusses his new book, Blueprints for a Shakespeare Cult.
About Blueprints for a Shakespeare Cult:
Shakespeare's theatre was a madhouse. Let's do that.
It's ready: a complete guide for making Shakespeare right: in bars, with no director, and only one rehearsal.
Why do this?
Because most conventional Shakespeare is bad. And it doesn't have to be. It’s a square peg/round hole problem: to put one of Shakespeare’s plays in a modern theatre, you have to round off the corners. The bits we cut off are not incidental. They mattered to Shakespeare. They matter to me. The theatre Shakespeare wrote for was a madhouse: the actors barely rehearsed, and had no director. They maybe never read the whole play. The audience was sweaty, drinking, loud; the event, public, social, unpredictable. The line between audience and stage was hazy at best.
You can build that madhouse. You can have the Shakespeare that Shakespeare intended. You'll need a hammer - not only to build, but also to tear down the modern crap in your way.
I've written that hammer.
It is based on the work of the Back Room Shakespeare Project, which began in Chicago in 2011. We reach past the words Shakespeare wrote to the purpose he wrote them for. We use the old blueprints, serve the old priorities — because the words are not the plays; the plays happened in the playhouse. That’s what matters. Get past the words that were written to the play that was intended. It is a sequel to the underground classic: My Life With the Shakespeare Cult.
This work is part of a movement. It's happening in Chicago, New York, LA, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, New Jersey, Albuquerque, Utah, and more. The movement deserves a fair shake - it deserves a treatment that will represent it with clarity, accuracy, and love.
About Samuel Taylor:
Samuel is a professional actor and amateur baker living in Chicago.
He is a founder and partner in Chicago's Back Room Shakespeare Project, which performs Shakespeare in a spirit closer, probably, to the intent with which they were written: Serious Actors, No Director, One Rehearsal, At a Bar.
Together with his Mother, he runs a small pancake-mix company: Long Table Pancakes. Life is long. Eat a good breakfast.