Shakespeare Tavern Breathes Life into Tragedy
The New American Shakespeare Tavern, located just outside of Tech’s campus in Downtown Atlanta, is one of the few, if not only, organizations in the U.S. to have performed all of Shakespeare’s plays on the same stage. Because the Tavern has performed the classic works of Shakespeare since the 1980s, it has perfected the art of original practice as far as the master of the written word is concerned.
Each performance differs from the last, as the actors, in their Elizabethan garb, acknowledge the audience. Unlike performers in most respectable theatres around the world, the players at the Tavern break the fourth wall, the normally solid boundary between the audience and the stage, both often and with gusto.
For example, when some member of the audience gets up during the show, the actors might draw attention to them or direct their next line at the leaving person as though pleading with them not to go. It is this type of atmosphere that allows an audience to truly immerse themselves in a play, and such immersion has come to define the works that are produced and performed on the stage of the Shakespeare Tavern.
There are no distractions in original practice, for the show incorporates anything that, in a movie theatre, would be deemed an annoyance; if a cellphone should ring, fate, in the form of the actors and the personas they embody, shall rebuke its owner.