Shakespeare Festival Ready to Shake, Rattle and Roll with Shake 38

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

Julius Caesar hip-hop style? Hair stylists creating hairdos from Anthony and Cleopatra? Visual artists, musicians and actors in a creative collective mashup titled “The Tempest Remix?” Those are just a few of the wild, wacky and ultimately illuminating interpretations of Shakespeare’s entire canon of 38 plays that St. Louisans can take in as part of the fifth annual Shake 38, Shakespeare Festival’s celebration of The Bard’s birthday, this being his 450th birthday anniversary. The festival runs from Wednesday, April 23-27 at a variety of not-so-traditional locations throughout the city.

Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis

Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis

The festival kicks off with The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra on Wednesday, April 23 with a musical “reaction” to “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the SFSTL office at 5715 Elizabeth Avenue. In addition to the creative musical interpretation by Rats & People, guests at the kickoff party will get a look at the Shakespeare Festival’s “Cakeway to the West” birthday cake, developed by artist Andy Cross, awarded to the festival as part of St. Louis’ 250 anniversary year-long celebration. As Sir Toby Belch said, “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” There will be actual cake for attendees, but we can’t speak for the ale, forsooth.

In addition to the aforementioned presentations, other highlights include the premiere of a new web series based on “The Taming of the Shrew”, a performance of “Measure for Measure” using the original pronunciation audiences would have heard in Shakespeare’s day (hear what that sounds like here), and the ever-popular Blind Shake—where anyone can get their inner-actor on by taking a role in the reading of a Shakespearean play. This year, Blind Shake takes place at Ranoush on Delmar.

There’s something for everyone, whether you enjoy singing, dancing, painting or performance of a comedy, tragedy, including the problem plays (King John anyone?). For the complete lineup of the events in this year’s one-of-a-kind Shakespeare birthday celebration, visit the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis website.

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