Before there was The Globe, before there were the King’s Men, before Bankside and Cheapside and Bear-Baiting, there was a community that came together to create those things. Several hundred years later, we are re-creating that spirit.
No Holds Bard is a community-driven Shakespeare festival. From a newly-imagined Macbeth set in post-earthquake Haiti circa 2010 through our centerpiece bootleg-style presentation of Romeo and Juliet, we are calling on the support and participation of not only our local artists, but of anyone who has ever felt the glow of the limelight and the call of the boards.
There is a little something for everyone in The Z’s Shakespeare festival. In addition to the afore-mentioned plays, we are presenting a concert of some of Shakespeare’s dozens of lyrics set to original music by local composers and songwriters and an evening of re-contextualized and newly-paraphrased classic scenes. Imagine Tybalt and Mercutio dueling it out in high-stakes poker, or young Henry exhorting his band of brothers to make one final pizza delivery.
No Holds Bard is both a delightful treat for the seasoned Shakespeare fan and the perfect entry point for the newcomer to Billy Shakes. Whether you can recite Shakespeare chapter and verse or the citation “Macbeth 5.5.17” reads as Greek, No Holds Bard is for you.
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Running throughout the festival is the psychological drama Voodoo Macbeth, Orson Welles’ update to the Bard’s masterpiece of treachery, betrayal, and slaughter. Voodoo Macbeth, in this new modern arrangement created and directed by Matt Burchfield, is set along the thinning boundary of spiritual and temporal in post-cataclysm Haiti. Witches and porters and murderers support the most perfect married couple in all of theater as they relentlessly pursue power. Macbeth runs from the evening of Wednesday, 19 February, through the afternoon of Saturday, 22 February.
Shakespeare’s Early Modern English is often impenetrable at first listen. We are inviting theater enthusiasts of all ages to take a few classic scenes and re-fashion them for the modern ear. Not only that, we are presenting these scenes slam-style, in a manner we imagine the Bard’s friends likely first read his lines in some darkened pub. Shakespeare Scene Slam is at The Z on Thursday, 20 February.
The Main Stage at The Z is showcased to its full capabilities as we bring Shakespeare’s songs to rich and vivid life in concert. Wil left us dozens of lyrics throughout his plays, but unfortunately only a few melodies have survived the ages. Fortunately, we can draw on musical traditions unimagined in Elizabethan England to remake these songs anew. Shake’s Songs appears one night only at The Z on Friday, 21 February.
Submit for Shakes Songs here.
The finale of No Holds Bard is a bootleg-style production of Romeo and Juliet. Bootleg Shakespeare is a true community-sourced production. Our randomly-cast actors have six weeks to learn their lines, create their costumes, and fashion their props– all on their own, without the collaboration of any other actors. On Saturday morning, we will all come together at The Z and create a new production in one day, to run one time only that evening. This show is randomly cast– no audition needed! Sign up online by Monday, 6 January, and we will draw the cast lottery-style the following day. This is the perfect opportunity for the amateur and enthusiast alike!
Save the dates, and we will see you at the Z for No Holds Bard: Shakespeare Remade February 19-22. Tickets ON SALE NOW!