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Showers in the Vicinity,61°
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Shakespeare 'as you like it' on Valentine's Day
(Page 2 of 3)
Hath thou a line? Those energetic lads, who are otherwise known as the Improvised Shakespeare Company, dance, sing and even get involved in some swordplay.They’ll perform at the Madison Theatre on Feb. 14.
“This is a must see-for anyone who loves to laugh,” Fraboni says. “You’ve never seen the Bard like this before.”
With their British-style accents, Elizabethan-era speech and numerous Shakespearean motifs to re-interpret in their inimitable style, the rotating ensemble of comic actors continues to enthrall audiences throughout the U.S. and internationally.
“Nothing is ever planned out or rehearsed or written, says ISC’s creator and lead performer Blaine Swen. “We never preconceive anything before a show because it takes away from the spontaneity. We’ve discovered as a group that to go along with the moment is far better than planning anything. So we are just as surprised as the audience with what is happening and once it happens it is gone forever.”
While it appears effortlessly unfold on stage, that seemingly madcap approach to recreating Shakespeare’s prose is well thought out and continuously practiced. Swen and his castmates take this business of riffing on the Bard quite seriously.
“We respect his words and his characters,” says Swen. “They are so richly emotional and feel so deeply that they translate well into improv, which needs strong points of view. We have found that the more serious we are about Shakespeare, the funnier it is. And the audience appreciates that we don’t just go for the gags.”
As Swen and his lively ensemble have done since he founded ISC in 2005, the group rehearses and studies with gusto. “’Studying is an ongoing process,” says Swen, “we are constantly working on our understanding of the material. Familiarity is essential for us. We meet with two professors from Loyola University who are guiding us through Shakespeare’s canon. We also take vocabulary quizzes at rehearsals to build up our vocabulary and go to see Shakespeare’s plays. We’ll always have something to strive for.”
The result on stage is a zany, yet intelligent approach to Shakespeare that has resonated with audiences.


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