William Shakespeare’s name evokes a multitude of associations from beautiful prose, to battling characters, to your high school english class’s interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. For Co-Artistic Directors of Actor's Theatre of SC, Clarence Felder and Chris Weatherhead, it's all of the above, along with Shakespeare's passion and humanity for his characters that sparked their passion for the Bard. We are so very fortunate to have this marvelous couple lead our free Shakespeare Workshop on July 3rd, where you can dive into his one-of-a-kind plays and learn more about the amazing world he has created. But before that day comes, let's take a closer look at how this dynamic duo's journey with William Shakespeare began.
When Clarence Felder was cast in a leading Shakespearian role at the Town Theatre in Columbia, SC, he realized that's where he was supposed to be. Mr. Felder has performed across the U.S. and Canada, and even with some Hollywood greats such as, Christopher Walken (MacBeth), Meryl Streep (Henry V), and Richard Dreyfuss (Richard III), having performed a total of 26 plays out of Shakespeare’s 38. He recalls two of his most memorable roles to be the title role in Macbeth and as Bottom in Midsummer Night's Dream. Mr. Felder has also adapted two Shakespearean comedies, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for one-hour presentations and two compilations, Shakespeare’s Lovers & Liars and Seven Ages of Man, which have also toured our state. Mr. Felder has been involved with theatre groups including Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Pittsburg Public Theatre, and the New York Shakespeare Festival, and has directed numerous Shakespeare productions in Georgia, South Carolina, California, New Jersey and Ohio.
Along side Mr. Felder, Chris Weatherhead will help to host, bringing her wealth of acting techniques to the workshop. For Mrs. Weatherhead, it was when she was hired to choreograph sections of Romeo & Juliet at her Southern California college when she caught the Shakespeare bug. She was very fortunate to be trained by the great Brewster Mason of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she studied in London. To this day, she has been involved with 11 of Shakespeare's plays, such as Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, and Cymbeline.
That should be enough alone to make you drop what you're doing and run to the theatre to hear what they have to say.
Today, Shakespeare could be regarded as not current enough or too hard to understand. However, if you look closely enough, you will see just the opposite. Sure the words may sound different or possibly seem too hard to understand, but Shakespeare wrote about people; people in love, people in pain, people against people, all relatable themes. His stories have been told over and over again from stage to screen, from classical to modern, with new adaptations happening every year.
When asked why Shakespeare is important, Mr. Felder stated that "the main evidence of the value of Shakespeare's plays is that they continue to be studied, performed and enjoyed in all cultures around the world and have remained popular for more than four hundred years. There are a few Greeks left but there doesn't seem to be anyone to get close to that achievement.” Mrs. Weatherhead piggy-backed off of that, stating that for her it's "the language, the poetry, the humanity, the passion, the insight into the very soul of humans.” That's what we all hope you will take away from this free public workshop, the shear vitality of Shakespeare’s writing. We sincerely hope you'll join us on Sunday, July 3rd from 1pm - 4pm at Threshold Repertory Theatre for what is sure to be an afternoon full of engaging activity and intriguing history.
Our next Shakespeare production, Love's Labour's Lost opens on July 21st. BUY HERE