IRONDALE ONLINE

The 1599 Project

In the midst of chaos, we decided to bring back a re-imagined and deconstructed version of our critically acclaimed Shakespeare epic!

The project title, which refers to the seminal year that Shakespeare wrote four of his greatest works, was originally performed in 2016 in a four-hour theater marathon with seven actors portraying more than 70 roles. The 1599 Project will now be a 4-part virtual series, streaming live: Henry V on May 28, Julius Caesar on June 11, As You Like It on June 19, and Hamlet on June 25.

Divided into four separate theatrical experiences, each stream will include a contemporary and adapted representation of each work and artist discussions to explore their personal connection to the work and how the current global situation has changed their own perception and interpretation of the texts.

With works more than 400 years-old being performed over devices primed for the modern times of 2020, Irondale examines the parallels of the mandated changes for the theater community and its undetermined impacts today, and the ways in which theater was changed after Shakespeare was forced to shutter his own theater doors as the local death toll rose in London.

 

What they Say

While this is impressive enough, it is even more remarkable that the company performs these four plays (each an epic in its own right) with only six actors. Director Jim Niesen has applied some very smart cuts to the texts to shave them down to about an hour a piece (full productions of Shakespeare average three hours). The result is four and a half hours of great performances from some of the best plays in the Bard's repertoire. Think of it as Shakespeare's Digest.

Zachary StewartTheater Mania

as actors and audience members migrate from space to space within the cavernous theater, there is the persistent sense that the spectators are meant to be not only onlookers but also witnesses, implicated in Henry’s warring, confirming the treachery against Caesar. There is a striking intimacy to that, a kind that occurs only in theater.

Laura Collins-HughesThe New York Times

Spectacular as it was to watch the ensemble of six take on iconic roles between plays, the most fun was watching transformations of characters in the same piece. Alex Spieth (of the must watch webseries Blank My Life) contorts herself to play the three supporting gals of As You Like It, from the posh and loyal Celia to the lowly, doting Phoebe.

Charles QuittnerBroadway World

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