Howe Library hosts interactive, informal ‘Tempest’ reading on Tuesday
By Katie Sinclair, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, September 11, 2012
In cozy Howe Library, you might catch sight of avid readers huddled over books or preschoolers squirming through story time, but this evening, Howe will serve another role: a performance space for a Shakespearean production. In conjunction with the Hopkins Center and in preparation for the upcoming Kidd Pivot dance performance, “The Tempest Replica,” on Friday, the Howe library will be hosting “Shakespeare Out Loud,” an interactive, informal reading of select scenes of Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest.”
“I really love doing cross-disciplinary events with the Hood [Museum] or with the Hop,” Heather Backman, Howe Library’s programming coordinator, said. “It’s a great chance to look at art, literature and theater together.”
“Shakespeare Out Loud” gives members of the community a chance to familiarize themselves with the text of “The Tempest,” according to Rebecca Bailey, the publicity coordinator for the Hopkins Center. The reading is meant to complement Kidd Pivot’s performance, but though it is inspired by the original play, “The Tempest Replica” is not strictly narrative and is more focused on themes than on a close interpretation of the text.
The event aims to reach out to community members in advance of the Kidd Pivot performance, according to Stephanie Pacheco, outreach and arts education manager at the Hopkins Center.
“We definitely wanted a chance for the community to dig into the text of ‘The Tempest,’” she said. “That was the key nugget of the idea — ‘how can we make this text come alive?’”
The reading is meant to be an intimate, low-pressure event, Backman said, in order to encourage participation.
“When everyone’s in a big room in a circle, it’s more of a democratic, interactive space,” Pacheco said. “People feel like they have permission to talk.”
Although the Howe Library has sponsored events with the Hood Museum, this is one of its first collaborations with the Hopkins Center, according to Backman.
Backman said she expects a crowd of between 30 and 50 participants. Members of the Hanover community have expressed interest in the event.
“We would love to have an all-ages group – kids, adults, Dartmouth students,” Backman said. “You just get so much more out of it when you have a multi-generational group.”
Due to time constraints, only excerpts of the play will be performed, and Backman said she picked them to line up with the sections being presented by Kidd Pivot.
“What struck me about it was that Kidd Pivot summarizes key parts of the play through dance,” she said. “Having read the play, you’re really going to be able to pick up on those parts. Then in the second half they touch on themes of the play — love, forgiveness, isolation.”
The reading is one of many “Tempest”-themed events this week. On Friday, the Rude Mechanicals will be performing scenes from “The Tempest” in One Wheelock. English professor Lynda Boose will also present a lecture before Kidd Pivot’s Friday and Saturday performances, discussing some of the different performances and interpretations of “The Tempest.”
“Kidd Pivot has a great way of incorporating text, too,” Pacheco said. “There’s some spoken, there’s some text that’s used in projections, there’s really fun multimedia. You feel the words of Shakespeare seeping in at random angles. We’re taking a 360-degree view of ‘The Tempest’ this week.”
Backman said that “The Tempest” is one of Shakespeare’s “top three plays.”
“It’s a really hard play to classify,” she said. “It doesn’t really fit into the mold of his early comedies. This is not a silly play. It touches on some very profound themes.”
One of the goals of “Shakespeare Out Loud” is to provide a chance for discussion and for audience members to gain a deeper understanding of the work.
“It’s a good story,” Backman said. “There’s a shipwreck, there’s romance, but I think really being able to look at the personal choices and challenges of the characters is one of the reasons we’re doing this ‘Out Loud’ program. It’s to give people a chance to talk about it.”
The collaboration between the Hopkins Center and the Howe Library is also a way to inspire more crossover between students and the Hanover community.
“One of the great things about working with the [Hopkins Center] is that it gives you a wider audience,” Backman said. “You get your crowd, and then you also get all the people involved with [Hopkins Center] events as well.”
The performance will be in the Mayer Room of the Howe Library at 6 p.m.