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The First Production

The Condensed Shakespeare Festival

 

The Stolen Shakespeare Guild started out as a student project and master thesis project for Jason Morgan, Alison Trapp, Jeff Winkler, and Sasha Truman-McGonnell at Texas Woman's University. Then in 2006 was reorganized by Jason and Lauren Morgan, Stefanie Glenn and Will Grimes into the company that you see today. The following are pictures and articles about the productions we performed before the company was re-organized and moved to Fort Worth. With out the help of all who participated in these productions the Stolen Shakespeare Guild would not exist today and this page is meant to celebrate all the hard work that went into these productions. Special thanks goes to Texas Woman's University and Artisan Center Theatre. Also, special thanks to all the theater professors at TWU Sharon Benge, Mary Lou Hoyal, and Dr. Tony Medlin for their support and to Mark Lowry for coming and reviewing our first show.

 

 

The List, Fort Worth Star Telegram

WHAT IS GOING ON IN TARRENT COUNTY

"Summer" and "Shakespeare" are practically synonymous in Texas.Unfortunately, "short" and Shakespeare" are not. Until now, that is. Artisan Center Theatre and the Stolen Shakespeare Guild come together to present the "Condnsed Shakespeare Festival," something that sounds more interesting than a straightforward production of any of the Bard's full-lenghts. Here you get a shortened, gender-bending version of As You Like It, Tom Stoppard's 15-Minute Hamlet and George Bernard Shaw's Dark Lady of the Sonnets, about a romantic meeting between Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the theatre inside North Hills Mall, 7624 Grapevine highway, Suite 900 in North Richland Hills.

AS YOU LIKE IT by William Shakespeare

THE COMPANY
Meagan Swiney ................................................ Rosalind
Brian Brissman ...................................................Orlando
Lauren Morgan ...................................................... Celia
C.J. Meeks .............................. Oliver, Amiens, William
Jason Morgan ............................. Touchstone & Adam
Esther Selgrath ........... Audrey & The Duchess Fredrick
Terry Yates ............................... Banished Duke & Corin
Dan Burkarth ...................................... Jaques & Charles
 

Directed by Jason Morgan

 

Celia and Rosalind

 
Oliver and Orlando

Rosilind, The Duchess, and Celia

 
Jaques: "All the worlds a stage..."
 
Orlando
 
Celia and Rosilind (Ganymede)
 
Touchstone, Audrey, and William

DARK LADY OF THE SONNETS by George Bernard Shaw

The Company
Jason Morgan ...................... William Shakespeare
Esther Selgrath ........................... Queen Elizabeth
Terry Yates ...................................... The Beefeater
Meagan Swiney ..... The Dark Lady of the Sonnets
 

Directed by Sasha Truman-McGonnell

The Dark Lady

Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare

The Dark Lady: " Your Majesty, I am of all ladies most deject and wreched."

Shakespeare: "At last sorrow has struck a note of music out of thee!"

Shakespeare: "God Save The Queen!"

 

THE FIFTEEN MINUTE HAMLET by William Shakespeare

The Company

Brian Brissman .................................................... Hamlet
Lauren Morgan .................................................. Ophelia
Terry Yates ..... Francisco, Osric, Gravedigger, & Horatio
Dan Burkarth ............. Fortinbras, Ghost, & The Players
C.J. Meeks ....... Marcellus, Bernardo, Laertes, & Horatio
Jason Morgan .......... Shakespeare, Claudius, & Polonius
Meagan Swiney ................................................ Gertrude
Michael Boyd ....................... Ye olde sound effects man
 

Directed by Jeff Winkler

"Alas, Poor Yorick"

"What, frighted with false fire?"

 

Ophelia

 

"Ophelia is Dead!"

"A hit, a very palapable hit!"

 

"I Hate Hamlet!"

 

"Our sometime sister now our queen"

 

Festival is quick Shakespeare fix

Mark Lowry

Star-Telegram Staff Writer



Meagan Swiney, top left, Ester Selgrath and Lauren Morgan star in the Condensed Shakespeare Festival at Artisan Center Theatre.

The great George Bernard Shaw was often critical of stagings of Shakespeare's plays. In an 1895 review of Two Gentlemen of Verona, titled "Poor Shakespear!" he wittily wrote about the production's "glaring defects and blunders." Shaw probably would have gotten a big kick out of the intentional blunders of The 15-Minute Hamlet, penned many decades later by another talented dramatist, Tom Stoppard. This extremely shortened version of the Bard's greatest tragedy uses all of the play's best-known lines ("Cruel to be kind," "To be or not to be," "The play's the thing," etc.) to tell the story in only 13 minutes. In the final two minutes, the entire play is recreated again. It is loving satire at its finest, and of course, funniest to spectators who know Hamlet's plot. Actually, you might not even need to know the story well to thoroughly enjoy the Stolen Shakespeare Guild's staging of 15-Minute Hamlet, part of the Condensed Shakespeare Festival at Artisan Center Theater's in-the-round space. A Texas Woman's University student project, the festival also features Shaw's short Dark Lady of the Sonnets, about a battle of the egos between Queen Elizabeth and the Bard himself, and the company's own version of As You Like It, shortened to about an hour. For Shakespeare lovers, it's a clever feast in that you get a conventional production in As You Like It, which manages to tell the basic plot pretty squarely; a funny, sometimes scathing bit of fictional history in Sonnets; and a slapstick delight with 15-Minute Hamlet. It's all done successfully because the performers, especially Jason Morgan (the festival is his brainchild), exhibit complete respect for Willy Shakes' words, but still know how to have fun. Among the talented cast, Brian Brissman, playing Orlando in As You Like It and the great Dane in 15-Minute Hamlet, is the most conversational and expressive. Even Shaw might have approved.


 

The SSG is Fort Worth, Texas year round classical acting company performing Shakespeare, Classics, and Musicals.