BY SANDY STAGGS
Scrappy Shakespeare, Spartan burg’s only professional theatre company, announced their 2021 summer production of “Julius Caesar” last night January 4 at their second annual Winter Workshop held at the Artists Collective Spartanburg (formerly the West Main Artist Co-Op).
“2021?” What about 2020?, you may wonder.
Well, before a spirited and definitely, willing crowd of longtime supporters mingled with fresh faces from Spartanburg Youth Theatre, the Scrappy gang (Tim Giles, Lauren Ferebee, Liam MacDougall, Sarah Hurley, Chandler Crawford and Connor Vetter) unveiled their goal of solidarity and long-term fiscal stability, and are taking steps this year to ensure Scrappy Shakespeare will be a Spartanburg institution for years to come.
But while the Scrappy version of Tides of March are not until next year, check out a book at the Headquarters Library this summer and you will see plenty of Scrappy Shakespeare action – and with an educational component. Details are still being finalized, but just from the off-the-record scoop I did get from troupe members after show, 2020 portends a magical season of the Bard.
In addition to the big Brutus reveal, Giles re-iterated that the group’s mission has always been about the collaborative process and growth as an actor, rather than striving for a perfect production. In that comedic vein, the actors then demonstrated some of the clever games and methods they use in rehearsals to “translate” the script and absorb their characters, and of course with audience participation abound. And man, what an eager group!
But the highlight of the evening was the musical portion. Scrappy Shakes has always incorporated live music in their shows since their very first comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2015 featuring original music by Giles and Carter Family classic. Everyone in the cast is a triple threat, and those talents wee propelled to new heights last summer with the “musical” version of Much Ado About Nothing with every Shakes member singing and playing instruments.
Boasting a score of a dozen or so incredible songs by playwright, actor, musician and composer Ferebee, who previewed a couple of fresh ditties she’s composing for Julius Caesar which will have a 1960s and 70s folk vibe. In a Joni Mitchell/Joan Baez earthy twang, Ferebee debuted “Swimming” and the heartbreaking “Portia’s Song” inspired by the tragic character in Shakespeare’s pivotal work.