Friends of Will – June 2011, #1

Your PARTY. . . Our Play

Have you been wanting to share the excitement of the Great River Shakespeare Festival with your friends, but weren”t sure how? Here is an idea that might help. Have a party!

The idea is to host a party of your choosing – brunch, lunch, picnic, or wine and cheese – and then take your friends with you to a performance. If you have 10 or more people you will qualify for a group discount of $4 off each ticket, and your party will be recognized on our welcome marquee. In addition the host(s) will receive a gift certificate for 2 tickets to the Apprentice performance of King Lear. Join the fun! Call 507.474.7900 to let us know how many tickets you want.

Friends of Will Margaret Kiihne and Kathy Seifert work on the Art Quilt

Friends of Will, along with costume shop personnel, are creating an art quilt made from fabrics used in Seasons 1-7 plays.  The quilt will be raffled at the July 25 Callithump benefit performance.


Winona Public Library Shakespeare Book Clubs
WPL Adult Book Club. Wednesday, July 6, 2-3 pm
Shakespeare, The World As Stage by Bill Bryson
William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself. Bryson documents the efforts of earlier scholars, from today”s most respected academics to eccentrics like Delia Bacon, an American who developed a firm but unsubstantiated conviction that her namesake, Francis Bacon, was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays. Emulating the style of his famous travelogues, Bryson records episodes in his research, including a visit to a bunkerlike room in Washington, D.C., where the world”s largest collection of First Folios is housed. Bryson celebrates Shakespeare as a writer of unimaginable talent and enormous inventiveness, a coiner of phrases (“vanish into thin air,” “foregone conclusion,” “one fell swoop”) that even today have common currency. His Shakespeare is like no one else”s—the beneficiary of Bryson”s genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.

GRSF Volunteer Tove Wiggs adds finishing touches to the Art Quilt.

WPL Youth Book Club, Wednesday, June 29, 2-3 pm
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood
A young Widge is an Elizabethan Oliver Twist with a talent for shorthand. Raised in an orphanage, he is apprenticed to an unprincipled clergyman who trains Widge to use a cryptic writing system that he has invented to pirate sermons from other rectors. Hired by a mysterious traveler, the boy is hauled off to London to attend performances of Hamlet in order to transcribe the script for another theater company. Naturally, all does not go smoothly, and in the course of trying to recover his stolen notebook, Widge goes to work at the Globe, eventually donning a dress and wig to play Ophelia before the queen. The true identity of the mysterious traveler provides a neat twist at the end. As in Wild Timothy and several of his other books, Blackwood puts a young boy in a sink-or-swim predicament in alien territory where he discovers his own strength. It is a formula with endless appeal. Not only must Widge survive physically, but he must also find his own ethical path having had no role models. When he is befriended by members of the acting company, he blossoms as he struggles with moral dilemmas that would never have dawned on him before. Tentative readers might be put off by Widge”s Yorkshire dialect, but the words are explained in context. Wisely, much of the theater lingo is not explained and becomes just one more part of the vivid background through which the action moves. This is a fast-moving historical novel that introduces an important era with casual familiarity.

Both books may be available at the Winona Public Library and may be purchased at the The Book Shelf (the book store inside Blue Heron) at a discounted price for those in the Shakespeare book club. The Shakespeare Stealer is $6.99 ($6.29). Shakespeare, The World As Stage is $13.99 ($12.59)
(Book information credits: http://harpercollins.com/books/ & http://Amazon.com)


The WOW committee is still taking reservations for the Dining with the Directors Great River Dinner at MMAM on Saturday, June 25. The three course dinner is catered by Signatures with a reception starting at 4:00. Dinner tickets may be purchased for $100 per person by calling the GRSF office, 507-474-7900. Seating is limited to 64 people.

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