Back with the Bard

By Nathan Pearce 

In the summer of 2016, I made the decision to take a break from theatre. Many reasons went into this decision, the most important being that I was about to marry my lovely wife Elizabeth. During this two-year hiatus, I yearned to be back on the stage. So when I saw that Sweet Tea was having their summer auditions last year, I jumped at the chance.

During our first read-through for Pericles, it was like I had never left. The community I had fallen in love with was back. And what makes this show even better is that I get to work with people that I had only seen on stage. This being Sweet Tea’s biggest summer season yet intensifies the sense of community, which is great.  Everyone gets along well and supports each other.

 Another thing I love about being back with Sweet Tea is that it is one of the few theatres where you get to play multiple characters. In Pericles, I am playing four completely different characters. This allows for a lot change of voice and body positions. I’m a big fan of actors who can change their character with the smallest details, so this makes me extremely excited for the audience to see these characters come to life on stage.

 While I don’t regret the decision I made two years ago at all, I am extremely glad to be back in this magical place called theatre with this extremely talented company called Sweet Tea Shakespeare.

Get tickets for Pericles and The Tempest at http://sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets.

Photo Credit: Thistle & Sun Photography

Bringing It Back

By Jessica Schiermeister, Co-director of Pericles

For our SeaWorld rep in June 2018, Sweet Tea Shakespeare is remounting two productions: The Tempest (produced by STS in 2015) and Pericles (produced by Hoosier Shakes in 2016). I and another guest artist, Duana Burby, were both involved in the previous production of Pericles.

Ana and I were brought aboard (pun totally intended) to help remount that production, and it has been an adventure! Since STS’s artistic director Jeremy Fiebig is directing both shows (and directed both original productions), I’ve been working to reconstruct Pericles as best I can. However, we’ve made some changes and some updates that make the show even more thrilling than it was two years ago.

The Tempest has reassembled most of the original cast, but Pericles features an all new cast (Ana is playing Gower this time around; previously she played Lychorida and Boult, and I played Dionyza and the Daughter of Antiochus). Austin Hendricks, another current guest artist and Hoosier Shakes artist, was a student at Community School of the Arts in Marion, Indiana (the home of Hoosier Shakes), when I taught a Shakespeare master class during my time there. We’re thrilled to have a mini Hoosier Shakes reunion down here in Fayetteville!

2016 Pericles featured a cast of 12; 2018 Pericles features a cast of 35. More than doubling the cast size has had its triumphs and challenges, but it’s magical to watch such a large group of people come together to put on a play. Co-directing this show has been a beast, but I’m proud of the work the cast put in. Join us for The Tempest and Pericles!

Tickets available at http://sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets.

 

A Homecoming

By Kate McCosh

I recently returned home to Fayetteville from Western Carolina University, where I just finished my first year in the BFA Acting program. Upon my arrival, I was super excited to see both my family and everyone at Sweet Tea Shakespeare. I started my journey with Sweet Tea Shakespeare as a sophomore in high school, when I was cast in the Honey Series production Sweet Words. A year later, I had the opportunity to work on STS’s Twelfth Night and As You Like It, which ran in repertory, very much like Pericles and The Tempest this summer. I then took a short break from STS while I auditioned for college.Read More

Making the Moon

By Jacob French, Assistant Artistic Director, Master of Note & Figure

Years ago–before I found Sweet Tea–I was a theatre husband.  My wife (the incomparable Medina Demeter) is a high school theatre teacher and, for most of her productions, she would need assistance with building sets, props, and other little (or not so little) things.  I would show up on Saturdays and work with her students to make what was needed. If I’m being honest, I quite enjoyed playing the part of “grumpy-husband-who-works-in-the-corner-of-the-workshop-making-stuff-who-the-kids-are-scared-to-approach.”  I’d lean in every now and then and tell someone they didn’t know how to use a power drill correctly and then show them how. Then I’d stand back and cringe as they failed to take my advice and trashed yet another Phillips head driver bit and stripped yet another screw.

When Medina auditioned for, and was cast in, Sweet Tea’s production of Julius Caesar in 2014, she mentioned that they could use help with “production-y” kinds of things. I thought I might be able to make myself useful there, so I made myself available.  Of course, this involvement eventually led me to become the Master of Note and Figure and an Assistant Artistic Director in the company–but that’s another story. My hopes of building things for Sweet Tea shows proved to be warranted, and the opportunities plentiful.  Through recent years I’ve built all kinds of things: shadow puppets, papercraft dog masks (so…many…), a wind machine, stage boxes, crown molding, rigging cables for outside (and inside) use. You know: theatre stuff.

For this season’s production of Pericles, we need a moon.Read More

Getting Our Reps In

By Marie Lowe, Associate Artistic Director, Master of Lit & Audience

The Tempest and Pericles are being presented in repertory, which means we’re performing the shows on alternating nights. It also means that we’re rehearsing the shows in repertory, with several actors going straight from Tempest rehearsal to Pericles rehearsal (or vice versa). If that sounds confusing or exhausting, that’s because it is, sometimes, confusing and exhausting–both shows feature ships, storms, and shipwrecks, and more than once I’ve had to ask someone, “Wait, which boat are we sinking right now?”

However, this process is building our muscles in truly exciting, hopefully permanent ways. It’s exciting to know that we’re moving closer to the model of rehearsing and performing multiple shows at once that Shakespeare and his company followed and that aspirational contemporary companies like the American Shakespeare Company and Bedlam follow now. It’s exciting to know that we’re capable of doing more good work in less time than we’re used to. Just as you can’t improve at the gym unless you push yourself past your comfort level, we can’t improve as a theater without pushing ourselves to the next level. We are building better theatrical muscles through this process, and the result is going to be a pair of powerful shows. Come join us at The Tempest and Pericles this summer–we’ve gotten our reps in.

Tickets available at http://sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets.

Be Our Guest

By Jessica Schiermeister, Dramaturg and Co-Director of Pericles

I have long admired Sweet Tea Shakespeare from afar. My former college professor and mentor, Jeremy Fiebig, started the company upon moving to Fayetteville after his first teaching job at Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa (where I attained my undergraduate degree). I always wished I lived close enough to go see the shows and support the company, but that never panned out. I attended Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, for graduate school and made a few trips to Fayetteville during breaks, but the timing never matched up with STS performances.

In the summer of 2016 I submitted a concept idea for STS’s 2017 Honey Series show Saint Joan. I was picked to direct the show and was over the moon about it! Finally, I would have the chance to not only see this company in action but be a part of the action as well.Read More