WildBard was founded by veterans of the New England Shakespeare Festival, a traveling troupe of actors performing the Bard on the greens and in the meetinghouses of summertime New England. We had such a good time, we didn't want to stop, and we wanted to be able to do it in and around New York City where most of us spend most of our time.
What's different about WildBard? We do Shakespeare as he liked it. In his own day,
Shakespeare was a popular entertainer whose plays had to compete with
other diversions available, such as bull and bear-baiting, hangings, hawking and
football (in the day, sort of rugby without rules and goals a few miles apart).
His plays had to be fast-paced and entertaining, and they had to appeal to tastes both high and low.
They were and still are brazen romps which, left to their own devices,
will make you laugh, jump, tremble and weep as ever, if the actors play them as
intended by their author. We do.
Shakespeare was an actor himself. His actors had no extended rehearsals and would stage ten different plays every two weeks in order to keep their audiences coming back. Shakespeare wrote his plays so that skilled actors could pick them up and play them, instantly. In later centuries, his plays have been studied, revised, revered and rehearsed to death, literally. But his plays, as he wrote them, come alive when the cues and directions that he wrote into them are followed. Fortunately, members of his company compiled his plays as he wrote them in what is known as the First Folio, and that's all we use. Members of our company have experience and practice in playing Shakespeare by following his directions as they happen, resulting in shows that are as raucous and unpredictable as they were the first time actors took their rolls and stood amid the groundlings, lords and ladies.