How like a Winter hath my absence been
From thee! The pleasure of the fleeting year-
What freezings have I felt, what Dark Days Seen
What old December’s bareness everywhere.
And yet, the Time removed was Summer’s time…
As we enter this December of 2020 and the Season of Magick that surrounds so many holidays, we can not deny the enduring ache of absence we feel bereft of Time spent together. We are Blessed in so many ways- not least of which is health, access to technology and warmth, and food on our table and in our pantry. To complain about all that we have missed out on feels trite in the face of so many bigger issues facing our shared planet and so many of its inhabitants.
The emptiness we feel from not sharing those Monday nights together experiencing stories, or the six mainstage shows we would have explored together since March, or the epic marathon day in the glory of Throwback is palpable. We were very fortunate to get to explore all of Shakespeare’s plays over the course of three months digitally and then to explore a sustained period of Active Rest...a paradox we think Shakespeare would be proud of...while we watched the world continue to turn and transition.
Giving Tuesday landing on the first day of the last month of this “thing of darkness” called 2020 seems full of Mystery. Something we have held dear since we began as a company is the belief that Shakespeare belongs off the pedestal and in the laps, hands, and hearts of artists and audience in an immediate, shared moment. Those are the exact things that are so dangerous right now, and the reason we have continued to wait to get back in the room with you. Shakespeare has been done at a distance for hundreds of years, and it is our belief that that distance has been harmful to what Bill was writing. In this moment, close proximity is harmful and so we wait in Joyful Expectation of the day we can hold these words and you in our arms again.
We want to explore these upcoming weeks in that same spirit of Joyful Expectation. We are energized to be launching “25 Days of Content”...a digital sharing of holiday traditions, old and new, with a Shakespearean twist. Over the course of the next twenty-five days, you can expect daily offerings ranging from: iconic holiday movie speeches, carols, and stories translated into iambic pentameter; a deeper exploration of passages from A Shakespeeare Carol (as they are worked and edited in real time); the entirety of Shakespeare’s sonnets read with calming music over the course of three installments; some of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches recorded and explored via the cinematic medium; and brand new “Wintry Works”. Some days the content will be less than five minutes--other days it will be closer to an hour. It will be yours to do with, or not do with, what you will. For years and years, we have produced eleven months out of the year and been relatively quiet come December. In the “topsy-turviness” of 2020, it is our Desire that we can share this incredible season with you in this way, and live in the Hope of Being together once again in 2021.
With so many worthy causes to Give to this year, and with resources strapped for so many, we come to you today not asking for grand sums to “keep us alive”. In the spirit of Bob Cratchit, we ask for enough to add a lump or two of coal to our fire and keep the creative embers stoked until we can ALL gather around the blazing fire again. In return we offer you some levity, some romance, and some digital Shakespearean warmth that we pray brings you and your family smiles, laughter, and delight in the promise of what is yet To Be.
Dan Beaulieu, Co-Founder & Artistic Director