With no director, no costume designers and no overall concept for the show, a local theater company provides audiences with a twist on Shakespeare never before seen, proving Shakespeare can be understood and enjoyed by all.
The Grassroots Shakespeare Company, a Utah-based theater company dedicated to exploring the original practices of Shakespeare, will perform “Twelfth Night” Wednesday, July 4 at 7 p.m. in Rock Canyon Park in Provo.
“It’s one of the most liberating arts experiences,” said Kyle Oram, who has been a member of the company for three years. “We aren’t confined by the rules, and I am free to make any choice I want with my character.”
The company was started by a group of friends who wanted to reach people who normally wouldn’t attend a Shakespearean play. Grassroots even keeps their shows free to make them accessible to all.
“Theater shouldn’t be an exclusive club,” said Trevor Robertson, an Orem native who has been a member of the company since 2010. “You get to reach an audience that typically aren’t theater goers.”
Robertson said once a young girl came up to him after a show and called him by his character’s name — Hamlet. “I loved that a four year old girl could understand that there was a character named Hamlet,” he said. “(It) was a kind of experience I’d never had.”
When the company starts a new show, the cast members memorize their lines and put it together in a short time, usually fewer than 10 rehearsals. With no director, each member of the company is free to bring their unique ideas to the production.
“It’s a more collaborative effort,” said Jason Fullmer, who plays guitar, drums and accordion for the shows. “We create a product that not just one person could create.”
Both Fullmer and Oram expressed their love for what happens on the stage when the company performs.
“It’s amazing,” Fullmer said. “There’s no other feeling you get like that. It’s very rewarding, ” Oram added.
Grassroots runs solely on donations, and the shows spread by word-of-mouth. The company invites all to attend their show and experience it for themselves.
“Even if you don’t think you like Shakespeare, you will,” Fullmer said.
The company’s summer tour will lead to two final marathon performances July 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. at Provo’s historic Castle Amphitheater. For more information go to www.grassrootsshakespeare.com or www.facebook.com/GrassrootsShakespeare.