Message from Jeff Watkins: Letter for the 2007-2008 Season

2007-08 Letter

Someone once told me that theater will outlast television, movies, the compact disc, and the Xbox. When I expressed skepticism, he observed that it has already outlasted the silent movie, the vinyl record, the 8-track tape, and the audio cassette. As I thought about it, I knew he was right.

Sooner or later-- hopefully much later-- mankind will inevitably wind up again sitting around a campfire telling the old stories of who we were, who we are, and who we hope to be.

As long as there are people seeking to build a better world, there will be theater. It’s that fundamental.

That is not to say that in my lifetime, actors on the stage will again be the living center of our national spirit, as they were in Shakespeare’s time. Yet here at The New American Shakespeare Tavern, it often feels to me exactly like that.

Call it the “magic of theatre”, a shared “suspension of disbelief”, or just plain fun. To quote a woman having just seen a particularly powerful performance, as she beamed at me from across the lobby: “there’s just nothing like live theater!”

At the Shakespeare Tavern, we strive with each and every performance to make sure that’s true.

First, we choose really good plays by some of the greatest playwrights the world has ever known. Then we really dig in as we rehearse, looking for every nuance of meaning . . . every tidbit of truth. Our ideal process leads us to an understanding of what a play meant to the people who first performed it and what it meant to those who saw it for the first time. Only then, can we as 21st Century actors begin to share the magic and power of these tremendous stories with a modern audience.

This year we’ll bring you a modern comedy by Peter Shaffer, the author of Amadeus and Equus, a timeless story by one of America’s literary giants: Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and  Guildenstern are Dead, Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol and a half-dozen of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

These are the stories of who we were, who we are, and who we hope to be.

And along with a fine Irish ale, and Atlanta’s best shepherd’s pie, you can find them right here in the 21st Century, at America’s only Shakespeare Tavern®.

Be there.

Jeff Watkins
Artistic Director, ASC


Letters from Jeff