A note from the President

Hello Friends,

Wow. What a year.

No, really. It’s been something for The Rude Mechanicals, as I am sure it’s been for you. As the year comes to an end and we reflect on the changes we’ve seen, I feel grateful that not all of them have been hardships. Some of them have been opportunities. When we were no longer able to gather in groups and produce live (in person) theatre, we had to pivot and find new ways to connect with our audiences and so our shows went online! This gave us an unexpected opportunity to work with actors all over the country. We’ve been so lucky to work with incredible artists from right here in our back yard to the big apple! We also had the opportunity to produce many new works including a series of plays that directly address social justice written by a Black playwright, Idris Goodwin. Shakespeare’s work reflected the social climate at the time that he was writing and I feel grateful for opportunities to use our skills, time, and energy to follow in those footsteps as much as possible.

Playwright Idris Goodwin

Just recently I had the wonderful chance to direct our yearly tradition of a reading of A Christmas Carol and we were able to keep our promise of a LIVE reading (it was just over Zoom). This year’s version was William Shakespeare’s Christmas Carol by Portland playwright, Ian Doescher. I was pleasantly surprised at how nervous I felt before we “went live” with our online show. It wasn’t much different than other opening nights, except that I was wearing slippers and sitting in my dining room. If you were able to join us for that production I hope you enjoyed it in your slippers, cozy at home too. Over the course of this year many of you have donated or joined our Patreon, and I am infinitely grateful for your generosity. It has helped us a great deal during this time when theatres across the globe are struggling.

We can’t wait to be able to share that opening night excitement with you in person, in the meantime our Youtube channel has many of our shows to watch from this season, and I hope you take advantage if you haven’t been able to see them yet. On behalf of the board and company, I want to wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season. Huzzah!

Emily Richman, Board President

The Heartbeat of Theatre

Iambic pentameter sounds like a heartbeat. Anyone familiar with blank verse knows the familiar bumBUM bumBUM bumBUM bumBUM bumBUM of the Bard’s work. His professions of love, his passionate soliloquies, nearly all have that heartbeat. Sometimes it races from fear or anger with short, clipped syllables. Sometimes the languid language slows to a crawl; drawing out that last breath with a loved one as if trying to stop the march of time itself. 

But the heartbeat remains. We must face the fear. We must face loss. We must soldier on because if the heartbeat stops so goes the poetry, the beauty of life.

As this world slows and races simultaneously within and without, I am finding more and more solace in the poetry. It doesn’t come from the words themselves or the stories. It comes from the ever marching beat of the heart.

It’s no secret that the theatre community is scared. We don’t know if our profession will ever look the same. We didn’t get the opportunity to draw out the moment; we didn’t know we had so little time with the artform as we knew it. Our hearts thrummed to the rhythm of fear and then determination, without dropping a syllable.

Shakespeare gave us this gift; we know as long as his work exists we have something in the body and soul of theatre pushing us forward. We cannot be completely still as long as his prose is there, giving us a beating heart.

Katie Clark, Program Manager