WHAT IS ORIGINAL PRACTICE?
There are many different definitions that fall under the umbrella term of “Original Practice”. For the Fern, it all starts with the text. Based on any given script we are working with, we allow the playwright's words to lead us to a production that we believe stays faithfully in line with the playwright’s intentions.
We believe that the most important part of our job is to make the words of the playwright come alive and to explore that message with you rather than merely reciting it “at” you. In Shakespeare’s case, we like to call this exploration the “communion of actor, audience, and playwright through poetry.” We use live sound effects created in real time during the show and perform music live.**
For Shakespeare, it often involves creating an atmosphere in which the audience becomes part of the play (don't worry, we won't call you onstage). We create this atmosphere by using a technique known as direct address. In all our Shakespearian performances, there is no 'fourth wall'--our actors speak directly to the audience.
Because there was no 'fourth wall' in Shakespeare's playhouses, there is no fourth wall in our Shakespeare productions.
It is our belief that Shakespeare’s intention was always to bring his audiences into the world of the play so we always perform directly to our audiences.
Additionally, while we may not set all of our shows in the Elizabethan Period, since Shakespeare wrote his plays during this time, we believe in using an Elizabethan World Picture during all of our shows, using ‘ideas and symbols which inspirited the minds and imaginations not only of the Elizabethans but of all men of the Renaissance.’*
FSC is proud to be a member of The Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA).For more information visit www.stahome.org.
STA was established to provide a forum for the artistic, managerial, educational leadership for theatres primarily involved with the production of the works of William Shakespeare; to discuss issues and methods of work, resources, and information; and to act as an advocate for Shakespearean productions and training.
*From the The Elizabethan World Picture by E.M.W. Tillyard.
** From The Atlanta Shakespeare Company’s definition of Original Practice.