Yorick News

June 2010

Rehearsals begin for Dream.

May 2010

Check out the Current Season page for a full cast list of A Midsummer Night's Dream!

Thanks to all who auditioned for A Midsummer Night's Dream. Our turnout was great.

April 2010

A Midsummer Night's Dream auditions are scheduled for May 22. See the Upcoming Season page for more details.

Shakespeare's Birthday Bash is rapidly approaching.

January 2010

Fundraising begins for our 2010 season.

The website is undergoing a few small changes.

December 2009

Shaun Starke has agreed to direct our Summer 2010 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

November 2009

Happy to announce that Two Gentlemen of Verona was our most financially successful show to date.

Here's a review of the show from Brandon Ketchum, you can find it at The Shakespeare Post:

Poor Yorick’s Cozy Two Gents

Many might consider that October falls too late in the year for outdoor theater, but the Tall Trees Amphitheater was too marvelous a venue for Poor Yorick’s Players to pass up.  Having taken the stage in this space for a brief but successful three-show run of Romeo and Juliet in August, director Dana Babal and his troupe of wayward actors braved the elements to present a warm and inviting production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Thus, when Saturday, October 17, rolled around, dawning to misting rain and near-freezing conditions, what did the company do?  Cancel the show?  No, they turned the set around and welcomed the audience to nestle inside the amphitheater itself to watch the show.  The actors, in full costume and sans outerwear, delivered a merry two hours to the huddled audience.

The confined area provided ample opportunity for the actors to connect directly to individual audience members, and the actors took some advantage of this proximity.  The pre-show, filled with juggling, a contortionist and a stage combat demonstration, drew the audience in and promised more fun to come.  The audience was also recruited to signify locations, by holding up different signs throughout the show.  Several audience members were even induced to try and play the guitar, which ended in wonderful comedic failure.  Adam Rutledge’s Proteus, the inconstant lover who betrays both his friend and his ultimate love, delighted in waxing poetic directly to the audience, and inviting them to share in his plans for villainy.

The audience certainly could have been put to better use in a few instances, however.  Rutledge sometimes looked to the heavens to emphasize his emotions, which disconnected completely from the audience.  Shaun Starke as Valentine, the play’s steadfast lover, disappointed the most in this area, delivering his soliloquy on Silvia to the floor, and spending most of his time onstage alone with the audience giving lines down to the stage instead of to the audience.

Still, even though Starke’s Valentine failed to directly engage the audience, and though he sometimes rushed and became imprecise with the language, his energy and joie de vivre more than made up for his other shortcomings.  Starke approached the role of Valentine with a gusto matching his broad frame, lending the play a steady pace that helped move the action along.

Valentine’s counterpart, Silvia, played by April Klonicke, delivered a kind of impish innocence that balanced well with Starke’s energy.  Klonicke brought her fresh beauty to the role, and did well as Silvia in feigning modesty while catching Valentine’s love and defying her father’s wishes.

Tonya Lynn brought great versatility to the role of Julia.  Lynn played an entire range of characters in one, from the blushing maid to the yearning wanton.  She also had to dress her character Julia as a boy, and pretend service to Proteus, the man she loved but who had already set aside her love.  Lynn did so with ease, sliding from one type into another and convincing the audience of her guise with each change.

The rest of the characters each brought their own flavor to the show.  Julia Babal’s Speed could have taken some advice from her own name and quickened the pace of the character’s timely wit, but she interacted quite well with Speed’s master, Valentine, and enlivened a short yet humorous scene with Launce.  Proteus’ servant, Launce, played by Stephen Ferrick, presented his character’s bumbling comedy with touching charm.  Marie Chonko as Lucetta would have done well to limit her pauses, but provided a good partner for Julia in their scenes together.  Both Eric Buell’s Duke of Milan and Jon Poli’s Thurio went delightfully over-the-top in their caricaturist performances.  And, of course, the indefatigable dog Crabbe did a steady job, consisting of looking cute and causing only the right amount of havoc with his master Launce.

So what does a non-professional theater company, terrible weather and a freezing audience add up to?  A cozy, warm and thoroughly entertaining production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, of course.  The cast did not achieve perfection, yet managed to reach out and connect with the audience’s hearts and humor.  Poor Yorick’s Players captured the essence and spirit of Shakespeare’s work, and appeared to be a company to look to for future fun.  They perform in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, at the Tall Trees Amphitheater in Monroeville Park West, and plan a 2010 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

October 2009

Come check out Two Gentlemen of Verona. It's fun! It's free! It has a dog! Did I mention it's free!

Thanks to everyone who braved mother nature's chilly fury to see Two Gents.

Pictures from Romeo and Juliet to be posted soon. Special thanks to Kristin Antosz for some great shots!

September 2009

Rehearsals continue for Two Gents.

August 2009

Auditions for Two Gentlemen of Verona - Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23 at 2:00. Tall Trees Amphitheater. Call 412-537-1705 for more info.

Yorick's first fall show is upcoming! Two Gentlemen of Verona will go up in October.

Thanks to everyone who saw Romeo and Juliet! It was Yorick's most successful production to date, viewed by more than 400 spectators.

July 2009

Rehearsals continue...

June 2009

Rehearsals begin at the Tall Trees Amphitheater.

Dance and fight choreography rehearsals begin for Romeo and Juliet.

Thanks to all who auditioned for Romeo and Juliet. This was Yorick's largest audition ever.

April 2009

Auditions are rapidly approaching. Check the auditions page for dates.

Shakespeare's Birthday Bash was a great success. Thanks to all those in attendance.

March 2009

Eclectic Mayhem have agreed to handle the fight choreography for Romeo and Juliet. www.eclecticmayhem.com

Poor Yorick's Players are now 501(c)(3) tax exempt.

Added Google map for directions on the 2009 auditions page.

Wrote Google's map provider to try to get them to add the park and theater officially to the maps.

Nonprofit articles of incorporation approved by department of state. 501(c)(3) status is next.

Please join the Poor Yorick's Players group on Facebook.

Audition and performance dates are set for summer 2009's Romeo and Juliet. Check the Auditions 2009 page for more info.

Yorick is preparing for Shakespeare's birthday party in April. Details to follow.

The website has undergone a major update. The new site looks similar to it's original design. The forums and polls are gone. Yorick's head still aches from forum coding and user ID difficulties.

February 2009

Yorick awaits approval of his official nonprofit articles of incorporation. 501(c)(3) status to follow that.

More photos from Much Ado are up. More Dream photos coming soon.

October 2008

Here's a favorable review of Much Ado from blog called "where's my plan?" at http://wheresmyplan.blog-city.com/ written, I believe, by a gentlemen named John Sherck.

The Bard near the 'burgh

posted Saturday, 2 August 2008
Last night, Lauren and I went to nearby Monroeville, PA for the opening night of Much Ado About Nothing, put on by a group called Poor Yorick's Players. If you're in this neck of the woods, go see this production--they have performances tonight (7 pm) and tomorrow (1 pm).

First, a word about the setting: the performances are at the Tall Trees Amphitheater, which was apparently finished this year, and it's a very nice space for performances like this.

We arrived at 6:25 for the 7:00 performance and had our choice of seats, so we chose to be just about as close to the stage as possible. Lauren packed a picnic dinner, including a bottle of white (we were never quite sure if that was allowed, but we were open about it and nobody said aught against it). It was a nice place to have a picnic and a nice place to watch a show.

Speaking of the show, the company did quite a good job bringing Shakespearean comedy to life (and some credit for that surely goes to director Dana Babal). Although we were just about the only ones laughing sometimes, they carried off the comedy quite well, and several of the actors and actresses got to flash their dramatic chops as well. Some of the roles normally played by men were cast as women--most notably "Leonata" (Elizabeth Brinkley). The initial effect was to create Messina as a world of women, as opposed to Don Pedro and his military men. The scene where Leonata threatens Pedro and Claudio was surprisingly well-played: having a mother rather than a father threatening these men was especially poignant, given Beatrice's earlier wish to be a man that she might take revenge for her cousin--here we have the mother pushed to transgress social boundaries by her passion, rather than simply an old man drawn to fight where he should have little hope of winning.

Amy Portenlanger allows Beatrice's wit to shine, carrying off the role admirably, while Shaun Starke's Benedick is played exactly where it should be: about a step behind Beatrice. Stephen Ferrick's Claudio is probably at his best when raging against Hero's (Anna Coleman) supposed infidelity, but all in all he manages to portray Claudio quite well: tongue-tied at the first blush of love and only entirely comfortable in the company of men. Tom Pike's Don John shows a nicely sullen, bitter villainy.

Admission to the show is free, yet the audience was still much smaller than the production deserved (actually, it could have stood to be a bit smaller, subtracting the woman who let her three small children run around and talk and whose dog got to barking at one point). Here's hoping that word of mouth brings more theater-goers out these next two nights.