I have follow’d it, / Or it hath drawn me rather. But ’tis gone. / No, it begins again.
Shakespeare’s The Tempest begins with a great storm that many characters believe has disrupted their lives forever. There’s a moment where the character Ferdinand, believing he has lost his father to the storm, hears beautiful music. He says: “I have follow’d it, / Or it hath drawn me rather. But ’tis gone. / No, it begins again.”
“It Begins Again” is what we’re titling this new series about reopening our theater in 2021. We’ve been diligently making plans to welcome back our audiences safely amidst Covid -19, and we will continue to respond to new developments throughout the season.
Hi there it’s Davis McCallum, Artistic Director at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. I hope this video finds you doing well. And I hope by this point most of you have heard our theater’s incredibly good news in an otherwise really difficult year for performing arts organizations everywhere. Starting in 2022, and thanks to the generosity of philanthropist Chris Davis, for the first time ever our theater will have a permanent home. As excited as we are about that long-term future, I’m here today to talk to you about the road back to production in 2021 and our final season in our long-time performance site at Boscobel.
We are thrilled that New York State has allowed open-air, outdoor performances for limited capacity crowds and we are dedicated to making sure that we can come back to in-person performances in a way that is safe. We can’t wait to welcome you back to the tent.
We know you have a lot of questions — How is picnicking going to work? How is ticketing going to work? What about the bathrooms? How is the seating configuration going to be different? There are so many things that are going to be transformed from what you might be used to in a season at HVSF.
First of all, normally we produce plays in rotating rep, which means we do one play one night and then another play the next night. But for COVID safety, this year we’re doing only two plays, as opposed to our normal four or even five. And we’re doing them sequentially.
The first play we’re going to be producing, and I’m so thrilled about this is a contemporary American play called THE MOST SPECTACULARLY LAMENTABLE TRIAL OF MIZ MARTHA WASHINGTON by James Ijames. Directed by Taylor Reynolds. We’ll be doing that in the first part of the summer, and then in the second half of the summer we’ll be doing a new production of Shakespeare’s late masterpiece, THE TEMPEST. Directed by Ryan Quinn.
I am making this video to introduce a series of videos that we’ll be releasing periodically over the next weeks to share with you a bit more information about what you can expect from the summer. Each video will be from a different HVSF team member sharing more about what you can expect. From the front of house, or box office, or the safety protocols that we’re putting in place to make sure that our actors are safe or how rehearsing a play is different in a pandemic than we’ve been used to before.
And I just wanted to say we are so grateful to our community for being there for our theater. Over the last 13, 14 months of pause. And our amazing team has been working so diligently to get back to the moment when we can begin again. I used that phrase deliberately because it’s a link in Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST. When a character named Ferdinand is washed up on a desert island after a harrowing experience and he hears a kind of mysterious sound of music and he follows it and it stops and then it begins again. We’re using that as the theme and title of this video series.
The last thing I want to say is there’s going to be a moment this summer when we can welcome our audiences back and it’s something that we have been dreaming about for more than a year. And that moment when the actors come over the ridge at Boscobel and meet the audience — I mean literally it’s been something that I’ve had dreams about. And I know that I’m not alone in that. So I just want to say a word of thanks and excitement really about the return to human gathering and all of the work that’s gone in to making sure we can do that safely — in an open-air tent overlooking the Hudson River, in the summer of 2021.
Thank you for listening and please enjoy the rest of this video series as we release it over the coming weeks.