Message from Jeff Watkins: Letter for the 2006-2007 Season

2006-07 Letter

Sensory overload: every day is a minefield of messaging, branding, talking points, sound-bites and advertising created by people seeking our attention, our time and our money.

Why should anyone take the trouble to drive downtown, park and sit at the appointed time before a wooden platform to hear actors speak verse? After all, even to me, it seems the highest and best use of any three hours would be to sit in a darkened room watching a candle burn its course, or reading a good book. Why even go to the theater?

It’s a valid question.

I can only answer for myself because it is a choice I make every day of my working life. For me, it is because the theater is a place of possibility. It is a place of clarity where the really Big Questions can be asked and addressed for their own sake.

Call it a purity of space where time stops.

Then add the gift of our greatest poet and you’ll come to understand why so many people are passionate about coming to the Shakespeare Tavern. There’s simply no other place in America quite like it.

Yes, The Shakespeare Tavern is the Southeast’s only Original Practice Playhouse®. That means the average theatergoer can expect to see period costumes, thrilling sword-fights, and an entire evening of Shakespeare centered on the power and passion of the spoken word. But it’s more than that.

For me, theater is a living thing brought into being by the communion of actor and audience through poetry. At its best, it creates a collective consciousness that assaults the really Big Questions of life in a way my own small intellect could never imagine . . . through humor, tears, logic, and rhetoric . . . sometimes singly and sometimes all at the same time. Together, with Shakespeare as our guide, it seems there is nowhere we cannot go.

Of course, we also serve beer; good beer I might add. And there’s a superb British Pub menu (except we make it fresh each day). After all, it’s hard to address the really Big Questions if your stomach is growling and your mind is still dancing from the day’s events.

It’s why we say the Shakespeare Tavern is a place out of time . . . a place to eat, drink and nourish the soul . . . a place like no other.

Join us

Jeff Watkins
Artistic Director, ASC

Letters from Jeff