Professor Giuseppe Giliberti of the University of Urbino has invited Shakespeare in Italy to organise a 14-day residential Summer Course, in July 2014. Three of the so-called ‘Italian’ plays will be examined, namely The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado about Nothing. The study of each will be led by a different well-known actor or director from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The Summer School is open to anyone of any nationality with a good command of English and a passion for Shakespeare. It aims to deepen participants’ understanding of the plays, to stimulate a sense of the Italian settings and culture which Shakespeare draws upon, and to provide varied and flexible approaches to exploring the texts. In all cases there will be a mix of expert input, practical work on scenes, discussions, and evaluations of contrasting film versions of the plays. Participants are strongly urged to familiarise themselves with all three plays in advance of the course. There are plans to visit some of the region’s superb historic theatres, with onstage rehearsals. Participants may either join in or watch, according to their preference.
Urbino University will give credit for attendance and validate the standard of the course, with no assessment involved. Some US colleges or universities allow a small number of attended, but non-assessed courses to count towards awards. Others might offer their students independent study modules; this is a project, assessed by long essay/critical diary etc, sometimes externally resourced, but marked by the student’s own institution
The structure is modular and consecutive. Each play will be studied for three days. The style and substance of each module will be decided by the actor or director taking charge. After each three day period one day is allocated for alternative pursuits, organized by Mary Chater who is a qualified Blue Badge Guide. Alternatively people may wish to take the opportunity to rest and reflect, or to explore the surrounding area.
Bill Alexander, who was for fourteen years an Associate Director, will be taking charge of The Merchant of Venice. Michael Pennington, RSC Honorary Associate Artist and co-founder of the English Stage Company, will direct the sessions on Romeo and Juliet. Josie Lawrence whose acting career ranges from Comedy Store to film, tv and seasons with the RSC, will lead work on Much Ado. The distinguished musician and international performer, Martin Best, who has been associated with the RSC for over 30 years, will perform his lecture-recital Shakespeare’s Music Hall and teach a seminar on the Sonnets. See events below. Mary Chater and Julian Curry will, as required by the module leaders, give support to individuals and groups throughout each workshop. Bill Alexander’s Plan of Action: What I’ll be trying to do is take the participants through a sort of speeded up version of the rehearsal process. Talk about the play … describe the intended production … analysis of character and meaning leading to the physical side of the production. Explore what happens when modern dress and renaissance thought meet … and the chemistry between highly poetic language and modern Freudian notions of character and sub text … and the unique Shakespearean meeting place between Naturalism and Magic; or realism and trickery! Top of page
Urbino is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It’s centrepiece is the Palazzo Ducale, fabulous creation of Federico the Duke of Montefeltro in the mid 1400′s. In strife-torn early Renaissance Italy Federico’s court was a beacon of humanism, a prototype of courtly life and the setting for Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, a cultural reference point for Shakespeare. Urbino is also the birthplace of the painter Raphael. His house in the centre of town is another attraction for visitors. The walled city of Urbino, a time capsule tucked away in the hills near Italy’s upper Adriatic coast, may give a better idea of what life in the Renaissance must have been like than all the monuments and collections of Florence and Rome. Paul Hofmann, The New York Times. An Early Music Festival also takes place in Urbino during the second half of July. It will be of special relevance to Martin Best’s work, and no doubt a source of great interest and pleasure per se.
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Shakespeare’s Music Hall with Martin Best, will enrich your understanding of what music meant to a Renaissance person, and how that meaning spread into every aspect of life. You will be inspired by hearing familiar texts in the the arresting ways that Shakespeare intended; you’ll have the chance to join in and help create the music (not compulsory!) You’ll discover that the ‘music of the Spheres’ was conveyed not only in music, but in verse, in action and emotion , and you’ll experience how Shakespeare depicts the fading of this idea as the modern world encroaches, leaving behind a gap in our understanding of the world that we still haven’t filled. Complete with lute, love and songs. Martin’s Sonnets Seminar will suggest how to interpret and speak some of the most famous, and some of the lesser known sonnets in the canon. You will learn about their origins in medieval songs, and how Petrarch, Chaucer, Dante, paved the way for these extraordinary works. You will come away with a new understanding of their musical structure, of Shakespeare’s virtuosity, and of how to embody the poems so that you can experience them more deeply as you read them. You’ll learn how to craft the physical techniques of performance – voice, rhythm, clarity and emotion – so as to realise their impact in your own way. In days between the Shakespeare modules, a variety of events will be on offer. E.g. (1) a visit to Urbino’s Palazzo Ducale. (2) Dinner in nearby Acqualagna, one of Italy’s major truffle centres. (3) A drive over the Appennine Alpe della Luna to see 15th century masterpieces by Piero della Francesca and late 20th paintings by Alberto Burri. (4) A day trip to Perugia, the capital of Umbria. (5) A visit to the open market followed by a seafood meal in Fano on the Adriatic coast. Top of page
The 4 star Albergo San Domenico is an old religious complex that is situated in the main square of Urbino, directly in front of the Ducal Palace, between the Cathedral and the University. A choice is available ranging from single or double rooms with air conditioning and ensuite bathroom to rooms shared between 2, 3 or 4 people without aircon. Details on request. (Mary Chater and Julian Curry have lived happily nearby without air conditioning for seven years.)
Hotel Website: www.viphotels.it
Tariff: €1965 per person
Included in this price is the following: 14 nights Bed and Breakfast Based on 2 people sharing with en-suite at the San Domenico Hotel, Domus wing.
12 evening meals at the Hotel Bonconte. The Hotel Bonconte is owned by the same group as the San Domenico, and is a 10 minute stroll from the Ducal Palace. 2 special meals as part of the day trips. Transfer from airport of Ancona or pick up from Fano Rail station. The Summer School is conceived and structured as a 14 day package. However those who cannot stay for the full two weeks will be able to enrol for just one or two modules. The course is also available to those who live locally and do no require accommodation. Details on request.
Mary Chater. t: +39 0722 330561 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: shakespeareinitaly.eu
Doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age. Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour? No, the world must be peopled! When I said I would die a batchelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.
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