Eye on the Scene

Buddies of the Bard

Shakespeare on the Square kicked off its 17th season this past weekend with performances of The Tempest and Much Ado About Nothing . Tom Parkhill , founding director of the Tennessee Stage Company, won't be acting in this year's performances. If anyone deserves a break, it's himâ"he's been instrumental in keeping Shakespeare alive and well in Knoxville. This year's highlights include Caliban , played by R.C. Croy ; he's perched on stilts for the entire play. And Shinnerrie Jackson does a wonderful job portraying the whimsical, airy spirit Ariel . This is Shakespeare the way it was meant to be seen, the closest thing to Elizabethan drama that you'll find in this town.

Those people who stood in the pit of the Globe Theatre in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, those who'd pay a quid just to stand in the dirt of the open-air theater, were unaffectionately called groundlings. They were the poor, illiterate masses who'd heckle an actor just as often as they'd applaud. Not much has changed during the hot, muggy Knoxville summers, when Shakespeare comes to Market Square.

â“The set we have created here is a vague reconstruction of the Globe,â” Parkhill once told us. â“The way we stage our plays is, more or less, the simplicity of style that would've been used at that time, as far as we knowâ. We are in some waysâ"a little bit consciously, a little by happenstanceâ"recreating the Elizabethan Shakespeare experience.

â“Part of the reason we do it on the Square and part of the reason we do it free is because it's an uncontrolled situation,â” Parkhill goes on. â“You can't say, â‘Here is the audience' and â‘Here is the outside of the theater.' Everything here is an audience. The show and the audience are impacted by what's around them. Our limited knowledge of Elizabethan productions suggests that he played to a rowdy crowd.â”


Thursday, July 19: Prior to The Bearded 's almost-last Knoxville show ever (tear), you will have the aural pleasure of Jack Herranen : husband, father, activist, folk-singer, poet, Bolivian farmer. Eh? Yes, Bolivian farmer. The Knoxville son has returned for a visit, and will be winding things up at Preservation Pub. You didn't know Bolivians rock? Well, shut up. What do you know about music?

Friday, July 20: Johnny Feeko 's playing at the Pint House? Isn't he a comic book superhero?

Saturday, July 21: Allone is a dance performance piece and a play on words: alone and all one . It's showing at the Birdhouse in the historic Fourth and Gill neighborhood at 8 p.m. You have to reserve a ticket by noon today, or else you can't get in. Email: allonereservations@gmail.com .

You probably feel more cultured just for having this information, don't you?

Sunday, July 22: I once got a Catholic propaganda pamphlet in the mail from my grandmother. It was about sex, or not-sex, actually. It had this picture of a sad-looking girl, and it said: â“There is no condom for your heart.â” âSo I'll see you at Sassy Ann's tonight?

Monday, July 23: Uncle Funky, Alan and Ronnie may sound like a trio of balloon contortionists whom you'd meet at your parents' neighbor's grandson's second birthday party, but they're not. They're musicians for grown-ups, and they'll be at Baker-Peters Jazz Club around 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 24: Adlin & Appleford and The Bearded will co-headline today's Blue Plate Special at WDVX downtown. Wait a minuteâ"that's cheating, Matthew Morelock . You can't play your own radio show. By the way, Leslie Wylie is looking for a job, if you need someone to fill in as Blue Plate host. (Only kidding.)

Wednesday, July 25: Nothing gets you over hump day quite like an evening in the urban dungeon that is Pilot Light, especially when Joseph & His Brothers , Opposite Day Orchestra and Quiet Fire are there to lull you into a trance-like musical meditation, or maybe a mosh pit. Not that we're suggesting anything crazy.

â" Kevin Crowe , Leah E. Willis



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