Designer Sarah Stallmann will use William Shakespeare’s 38-play canon to inspire some original clothing ensembles at “Reclamation: Contemporary Fashion and the Canon,” SHAKE 38’s kick-off event, set for 5 to 7 p.m., on Wed., April 18, at the St. Louis Fashion Fund Incubator (1533 Washington Ave.). The event marks the beginning of the ninth annual five-day community-based marathon of the Bard’s work, performed in just about every location imaginable across the St. Louis metro area.
Stallmann’s work will defiantly reimagine Shakespearean characters through punked-up style and performance: meet the wicked rivals in “Romeo & Juliet,” anarchist nuns in “Measure for Measure,” and androgynous rebels in “The Taming of the Shrew.” Enter their world through a live fashion show with interactive entertainment.
Occurring April 18-22, SHAKE 38 performances are scheduled at an area brew house, a chapel, Tower Grove Park, a Mexican restaurant, and the corner of Delmar and Grand, to name a few. In past years, venues have ranged from cupcake trucks and parking garages to paddle boats, libraries and empty swimming pools. Events are free and nearly all are open to the public.
For a detailed schedule, including times and dates, please visit www.sfstl.com. Other highlights this year include:
- Selfie stations, arranged much like a photo booth, will be available for audience members at select events. A SHAKE 38 Snapchat filter has also been developed for the kick-off event.
- · In the form of guerrilla theater, Roomc3Delmar Players and Sahara SistaSols, will transform “King Lear” into modern day where a president is weighed down by power, greed, and money, driven to the point of madness. As a king falls, “Queen Lear” rises in his place. Staged repeatedly from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., on April 19, on the four corners of the intersection of N. Grand and Delmar boulevards.
- · The unexpected, comedic version of “Antony & Cleopatra” will feature members of the Improv Shop in a 60-minute unplanned performance, at 10 p.m., on Thurs., April 19, showcasing the group’s talented cast of improvisers. Location: Improv Shop Main Stage (3960 Chouteau Ave.).
- · A staged reading of a newly commissioned play for the Festival, “The Thousand Natural Shocks,” written by Michael Sáenz, at 8 p.m., on Thurs., April 19, at Stage Three in Webster Hall, on the Webster University campus.
- · Patrick Blindauer, Festival actor and professional puzzle master behind patrickspuzzles.com, will offer a printable crossword puzzle, inspired by “All’s Well that Ends Well,” on the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis website throughout the duration of SHAKE 38. The New York Times has published more than 60 of Blindauer’s puzzles.
- · Jonesey’s Words will present a family-friendly under-an-hour event centered on a handmade picture book adaptation of “Pericles,” at noon, on Sat., April 21, at the St. Louis Public Library Schlafly Branch.
- · Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Ave.) will serve as the set for Stone Soup Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” at 2 p.m., on Sun., April 22. This Chicago-based group will be making its sixth SHAKE 38 appearance.
- · Shakespeare Fight Club heads “once more unto the breach” to tackle “Henry V” – bring a picnic and enjoy the French versus English tale come-to-life with stage combat. Best part? Audience members can join in. When: 4 p.m. on Sun., April 22, at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.
“The creative genius St. Louis has to offer is on full display at SHAKE 38 and this year is no exception,” said Kristin Rion, lead producer for SHAKE 38. “William Shakespeare wrote that ‘All the world’s a stage,’ and St. Louisans continue to honor that by creating some incredibly imaginative interpretations of his work, all of which focuses on themes that still resonate today, 400 years later – love, lust, revenge and perseverance – and making them happen in the most unique spaces.”
Introduced in 2010 as an around-the-clock urban experience highlighting Shakespeare’s entire canon in St. Louis in 38 hours, the event was expanded to five days in 2012. SHAKE 38 is sponsored by Nancy and Ken Kranzberg, in partnership with the Riverfront Times.
SHAKE 38 will be followed by the Festival’s main stage production of “Romeo & Juliet,” June 1-24, at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park; Shakespeare in the Streets’ production of “Blow, Winds,” June 15-16, on the steps of the St. Louis Public Library, Central Branch in downtown St. Louis; and a festival of new plays, In the Works, in late fall.
About Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
Since its inception in 2001, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has surpassed the one million mark in attendance through its work In the Schools, In the Streets and In the Park with more than 710,000 people attending the free main stage productions at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. The organization has reached an additional 300,000 students In the Schools through its educational programming. In 2010, the Festival launched SHAKE 38, a marathon participatory presentation of Shakespeare’s entire 38-play canon community wide. In 2012, the Festival shut down its first street, Cherokee, to present a community-based play In the Streets. Leadership support for Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ 2018 season is provided by the Whitaker Foundation. The Festival is also funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis. For more information, please visit www.sfstl.com, or call 314-531-9800.
1st Photo: The Great British SHAKE-Off —Whisk Bakery (2201 Cherokee St.)
Whisk Bakery turned into a battlefield as everyone fought over who would take over King Henry IV’s bakery once he was gone. Would it be the ambitious and classically trained Hotspur? Or would the family business go to his son, Hal, who spent too much time with his slacker friend Falstaff? Performed by the Undiscovered Company — sprinkles flew and breads rolled.
(From l to r): Sahara SistaSols Scott and Lawd Gabriel performing All’s Well That Ends Well at Grand Beauty Supply (Grand Avenue).