In December 2005, Thomas, Alyssa and I were cooped up in a car on a long ride to see a good friend do a show. We had all been in shows ourselves over the years, acting, directing, organizing but we had also all been absent from theater for a while. Anyone who’s done this knows that it’s nearly impossible to get away and we all missed it.
Of course, we are all also stubborn, opinionated, and not likely to do anything on anyone else’s schedule or say-so. Having worked on others’ terms, we thought maybe it was time to work on our own terms. We discussed performing Shakespeare outdoors, like Thomas had done in the past with another, now defunct, theater company. It sounded like a good idea.
Looking back, that is probably the point where most normal people would have left it, but Thomas knew some people in the Cultural Affairs department in Roswell from past theater ventures, and we started making phone calls. We’d taken that car-bound speculation pretty seriously. We either did this, or we did not. As Yoda says, “There is no try. There is only do.â€ In short order we’d purchased this domain name, and I called Alyssa. “We’re really doing this. It’s real. We’re on the internet.â€ Pretty soon we’d scoped out Barrington Hall as a locale for outdoor theater and we’d settled on a play Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. We set the show in 1963, and we opened the first North Fulton Drama Club show in April of 2006, five months after that first conversation.
We’ve called ourselves many silly names over the last couple years. “Sticks-n-Stones Shakespeare.” “Guerilla Theater.” Now though, we’ve found the nickname we want to keep Punk Rock Theater.
The quote at the top there is from probably the most famous punk fanzine of the 70’s, Sniffin’ Glue. “Here’s one chord, here’s two more, now form your own band,â€ was a catchphrase in the punk scene, short hand for the idea that anyone could start their own band, regardless of the odds. If you know anything about punk rock, you know that Sid Vicious couldn’t really sing, but he and The Sex Pistols had fire, and they ignited their fans. Our goal is to take our cues from them, building a foundation to spark a fire of our own.
What follows is our version of a Manifesto.
- Do it yourself. Not just anyone does Shakespeare, we were told. Not just anyone can. Really? We disagreed. With a variety of Liberal Arts degrees between us and many years of reading and performing all kinds of plays, we were pretty sure we could do Shakespeare. As it turns out, we were right.
- Resist Authority. No one gets to tell us, or you, how you should experience Shakespeare. We will closely read the text, we will discuss and learn about the text, and we will present the text in a way that shows why we still study Shakespeare and why it matters. Shakespeare is, actually, for everyone.
- Combine Altruism with Self-Interest. We believe that Shakespeare is portable, applicable, durable and relevant, and that everyone can understand and learn to like, if not love, this balding guy from 16th Century England and that our interpretations can help with that process. That’s the altruism part. The self-interest part is that this is what we love, and it is what we want to do. We’re not going to be stopping any time soon.
If you love working in the theater, if you love working with Shakespeare, if you love taking chances and doing things that might not work and making a mess and then making something amazing, come out to see us. Trust us, you’ve never seen Shakespeare done quite like this.