One of Shakespeare’s Plays, No director, One Rehearsal, at a Bar.
The newly formed Shakespeare From the Ground theater ensemble in La Crosse announces their first production in partnership with Pearl Street Brewery. They will be bringing Twelfth Night to life in a unique way Tuesday, January 7th, 2020. The group is modeled after the premise developed by Chicago’s The Back Room Shakespeare Project of performing one of Shakespeare’s plays in the spirit in which it was written.
In Shakespeare’s theatre, the audience was an unruly bunch of drunks. His actors had no director and they rehearsed only fights and dances. The Project is a culture and a set of ideas that is quickly being replicated across the country. They have official chapters in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Similar groups are popping up in communities across the country and Shakespeare From The Ground is the newest inception in La Crosse, WI.
Chuck Charbeneau has been instrumental in putting together a group of local and regional actors who are willing to throw caution to the wind for one night as they tackle one of Shakespeare’s plays—Twelfth Night in this case—with no direction, and only one rehearsal before going on stage… or Pearl Street Brewery in their case.
Charbeneau, who has degrees in computer science and theater, has been teaching improv for over two decades, and has acted in several local theater productions. “I had the opportunity to see The Back Room Shakespeare Project – (BRSP) in Chicago, picked up Samuel Taylor’s book ‘My Life with the Shakespeare Cult,’ and fell in love with the idea.” Said Chuck.
Local actors include: Chuck Charbeneau, Rick Gramlich, Megan Gunderson, Josh & Jacob Kaiser, Greg Parmeter, Devin Simko, Matt Springer, Kelsey Taunt, Joeann Tesar, Emily Ware, Jim Warsinske, Sam White as well as Whitney Graham (Madison, WI), Dawn Havican (Dubuque, IA), and Sara Pillatzki Warzeha (Minneapolis, MN).
“This process will be like no other show I’ve been in,” says Jacob Kaiser, “It’s going to be an excellent experience and a huge chance for personal growth as an actor.” Jacob is a senior at Aquinas High School. Some of his favorite roles include The Man in the Yellow Suit in Tuck Everlasting and singing “We Beseech Thee” in Godspell both at Aquinas as well as Aladdin in Aladdin Jr at La Crosse Community Theater.
For Rick Gramlich, “It is stepping back into the fire of scripted productions. If I’m going to jump let’s checkmark Shakespeare as something to add to my performing resume. Alas, into the flame I dost go!” Rick has been studying improv with Chuck Charbaneau over the last three years, but hasn’t been in a scripted stage production since high school.
You’re invited to find out firsthand what happens when this group of dedicated actors who understand their work take one of Shakespeare’s plays, eliminate the director, and are willing to step into the chaos. Mark your calendars for the inaugural performance from Shakespeare From the Ground: 12th Night for 12th Night!
What: Unrehearsed Shakespeare: 12th Night for 12th Night
When: Tuesday, January 7, 2019 | Doors 6pm – Show 7-9pm
Where: Pearl Street Brewery – 1401 St Andrew St, La Crosse, WI 54603
Shakespeare From The Ground is based on the blueprint designed by The Back Room Shakespeare Project in Chicago—One of Shakespeare’s Plays, No director, One Rehearsal, at a Bar. The La Crosse, WI ensemble was formed in 2019 by Chuck Charbeneau who has a background in improv and theater. For more information about upcoming events, visit shakespearefromtheground.com or follow them on Facebook @Shakespearefromtheground or Twitter @shakespearefro1.
Lisa K. Adams