Spring is in the air and on stage


(Photo: D.A. Robin/Special to the Democrat)

March 31, 2016
Bryan Desloge,
My View

I am not shy about my passion for the outdoors. When it comes to hiking, running, cycling or paddling in Leon County, count me in. Few places offer more scenic and fulfilling outdoor experiences. But spring festival season adds another level of outdoor fun, so be an ambassador and invite friends and relatives to enjoy it with you.

Floridians brag about glorious weather, especially during the winter. Florida tourism promoters even call the winter “bragging season,” showcasing photos of sunny landscapes, palm trees and tropical drinks to northern neighbors who suffer with piles of snow and gloomy days. We have our own “bragging season” – it’s spring and there’s nothing quite like it anywhere in Florida. Continue reading

Try your hand at a Shakespeare sonnet

(Photo: Dave Schwarz/St. Cloud Times)

March 23, 2016
Bryan Desloge,
My View

Words. Words. Words.

When Polonius asks Hamlet what he’s reading in a seeming fit of bewildered distracted madness, Hamlet response is simple:

“Words. Words. Words.”

When reading Shakespeare’s words, some feel as if they’re reading Greek. Some feel Shakespeare’s poems are a complex, undecipherable code. But that’s all they are – words! Continue reading

Words, Words, Words!



Shakespeare’s sonnets, 154 in all, demonstrate his mastery of the English language in a way that some of us might appreciate, if not fully understand, and perhaps even want to imitate.

With this in mind, the Southern Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the Tallahassee Democrat and Sachs Media Group, held our SECOND ANNUAL SONNET CONTEST.

We had over 100 submissions and all of our finalists were invited to participate in our Festival on Saturday evening and the winning sonnets were read by The Sonnet Man, Devon Glover.




“For Romance” by Jake Cooper

I went to a dance once upon a time.
Although the boys and girls were separate,
To not dance with a girl would be a crime.
Like a shining light I saw my soulmate.
I went to a dance once upon a time,
and then I confidently went to her.
But then I suddenly stopped on a dime.
I went white from my feet to my shoulder.
I went to a dance once upon a time,
and someone danced with the girl of my dreams.
Then I realized, my mood began to climb,
She is not as important as she seems.
I went to a dance, once upon a time.
I discovered that now was not the time.

High School

“Immersion of Love” by Lexi O’Rourke

Calm collected waves, build up emotions
Riptide, taking in pieces of the world
Intriguing thrills, wandering the ocean
The current of movement, sea drifts are curled
Lovers’ footprints, full of past memories
Sand between their toe gaps, a tingling warmth
Tranquil and serene; free of enemies
Days pass leisurely, affection put forth
Heated rays of the sun tickle their backs
The smell of sea salt brings serenity
Shells embraced in the sand of the shore, cracked
The peaceful creatures, their own entities
Bundled feelings of the waves pass through souls
Love of these souls, unable to control


“To Players And Their Parts”

by Dana Gower

The world, and life, continue stage by stage,
And wond’rous parts are writ for all to play.
But there remain with us in ev’ry age
Those which are still loved most until this day.
The child who creeps unwillingly to school,
The lovers lost within each others’ eyes,
And then the kings who over others rule,
And, at the last, the fool who’s really wise.
These roles, these wells, passed on for us to fill,
To reinvent in ways as we think best,
Which we create as if by force of will,
And lay, side by the side, with all the rest.
From (missing) head to toe we keep these parts,
Held tightly always closest to our hearts.

Judges Bios

Randi Atwood is the Platform Editor for the Tallahassee Democrat. She is a lover of theater in general and has been a Shakespeare fan ever since she had one line in “Macbeth” at camp when she was 9.

Devon Glover is a teacher, poet, rapper, from Brooklyn New York. He performs Shakespeare’s Sonnets in a dynamic way through Hip-Hop in schools, universities and theaters to young audiences nationally and abroad.  The Sonnet Man has appeared on The Today Show, MTVAct, Shakespeare Festivals in Stratford Ontario and Stratford-upon-Avon, and won The L.A. Times Book Award for Inspirational Poetry.  The recent release of his debut video “Hip-Hop Hamlet” was selected for the Shakespeare Short Film Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon.  For more information, visit www.SonnetMan.com.

Dr. Molly Hand teaches English at Florida State University, where she is the Entrepreneur in Residence in editing and publishing. She holds a Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature and has published articles and book chapters on Renaissance literature and culture. She is currently working on a book chapter, “Animals, the Devil, and the Sacred in Early Modern English Culture,” to appear in the forthcoming collection Animals and Animality in the Literary Field (Cambridge University Press), which she is also co-editing.


Abridged goes to Apalachicola!

SShakes-Abridged-VWe really are takin’ it on the road! The historic Dixie Theater in Apalachicola will host two encore performances of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on Thursday, March 10 & Friday, March 11 at 8 pm.

If you missed seeing this wildly hilarious show when it was performed at Monticello Opera House, Goodwood Museum and Garden, and the Maguire Center at Westminster Oaks, maybe a night out in Apalach is in the folios for you.

This high-energy romp through all of Shakespeare’s plays has been around since 1987, when the Reduced Shakespeare Company cooked it up, and our rendition has the added benefit of actors experienced in the Bard’s words and improvisation. We have two casts, so each performance is different, but always delightful.

You can make reservations by calling the Dixie Theater at (850) 653-3200, or you can purchase tickets at http://southernshakespearefestival.org/touring-company.

Here is sample of what you might see:


Tallahassee Downtown New Years Eve 2016

NYE_logo_reducedCome join us in Downtown Tallahassee for this FREE street party event in celebration of New Years Eve 2016!

The event will include live music by the Mary and Aaron Band, Wanderfoot, and the New 76ers on the main stage, food trucks, street performers, guest DJ’s, the Fun 4 Tally Kids Family Zone, and a firework show at midnight to celebrate the new year. The event is free and open to all ages, and proceeds from the alcohol sales will benefit Southern Shakespeare. The party begins at 7pm, see you there, Downtowners!

WHEN: Thursday, December 31, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM (EST)

WHERE: Adams Street Commons

Click here to view more information


Shakespeare Uncorked

ShakesUncorkedLogo-v2To create the best event, we’ve rounded up six of Tallahassee’s top chefs to showcase a gourmet sampling to pair with a wine from one of our six wine distributors. The Edison provides the perfect blend of Tallahassee history and contemporary finishes. From aperitif to dessert, our distributors will make sure your glass is decadently decanted and your plate is full of samples from Tallahassee’s best.

WHEN: Saturday, January 30, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EST)

WHERE: The Edison – 470 Suwannee Street Tallahassee, FL 32301 – View Map

Click here to view more info

Click here to buy tickets

Bard Wars III at Proof Brewing

BardWarsJediThe Jedi Doth Return, the third installment of Southern Shakespeare’s Bard Wars series, is coming to Proof Brewing Co. in Railroad Square on December 16th from 6 pm to 9 pm. It’s a celebration leading to the opening of the seventh episode of the Star Wars ennealogy (a word worthy of Shakespeare).

Credit Ian Doescher with the brilliant idea of retelling the Star Wars stories in verse worthy of the Bard, thereby combining TWO of the Top Ten List of Obsessions on wemadethisup.com. Not that we’re biased, but you really haven’t lived until you’ve heard Darth Vader say to Luke, “If thou wilt not fight, then thou shalt meet thy destiny.”

While we are on the subject of Top Ten lists, did we mention BEER? The brews at Proof are as nuanced as a Hamlet soliloquy, or as brash as an untamed shrew. Remember the bar in the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope? There won’t be as many aliens, but mixing Shakespeare aficionados with Star Wars devotees COULD be a multicultural experience!

There will be Southern Shakesbeer Growlers available with discount coupons on refills. You can become a member of the Southern Shakespeare Company with the corresponding benefits of reserved seating for our Festival in April and other perks. Ask about our Education and Community Outreach programs. Maybe you’d like to learn more about The Bardlings, our junior company of middle and high school students learning and performing Shakespeare all over Tallahassee.

Find out about our Shakespeare Uncorked Wine Festival in January. You could book a production of our touring show, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) for your civic organization, or where you can see this hilarious play in venues around the Big Bend.

So come on down to Proof at 644 McDonnell Dr. in Railroad Square on Dec. 16. Your growler and other merchandise purchases will benefit the Southern Shakespeare Company, so you get to indulge in any number of your guiltiest pleasures for a good cause.

Membership Has Its Privileges

membership-levels-whiteIt is that time of the year to renew your SSC membership for 2016-17. And don’t forget our membership program now includes the ‘Society of the Bard’.

The Society of the Bard was created so that our members could directly support SSC’s education programs. For more information about this and our other membership levels, click here.

Bard Wars II: The Empire Striketh Back

IMG_9496So, you’ve never seen Star Wars done in quite this way before?? Here’s your chance to watch a melding of TWO of the greatest obsessions known to humankind:

Star Wars AND Shakespeare!

WHAT?? Check out BARD WARS II at Proof Brewing in Railroad Square on Saturday, October 17 from 4 – 7 pm, and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

That’s right, some crazy/brilliant guy named Ian Doescher actually took Star Wars screenplays and converted them into Shakespearean verse. So come watch Darth Vader, Obi Wan, Luke & Leia, and the gang take on some Shakespeare.

While you’re there, pick up one of our Southern Shakesbeer Growlers and enjoy a good brew, in our galaxy.

The Southern Shakespeare Festival is proud to present a couple of scenes from “The Empire Striketh Back” at Proof Brewing.

We’re not saying you have to do up your hair like Princess Leia, or wear a Wookie mask. Unless, of course, you’re as NUTS as we are for the chance to get all Shakespearean while paying tribute to the greatest movie franchise of ALL TIME! But there may be a few surprises for all you Han Solo’s out there.

Come on down to Proof at 644 McDonnell Dr. in Railroad Square on Oct. 17.
Your growler and other merchandise purchases will benefit the Southern Shakespeare Festival, so you get to indulge in any number of your guilty pleasures for a good cause.

A New Way to Support SSC


Put your purchases to work for Southern Shakes! Recently, the Southern Shakespeare Company was accepted as a Not For Profit charity by Amazon Smile. What that means is that Amazon customers can designate the Southern Shakespeare Company as their charity of choice, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchases to help keep Shakespeare in Tallahassee!

And it’s REALLY easy. To shop at AmazonSmile, go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. Sign in and select Southern Shakespeare Company as your favorite charity. Then shop as you would normally on Amazon, everything is the same, but you will see “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” in the description of the products you are purchasing. It doesn’t cost you a thing! AmazonSmile gives out of its own share of the cost of the product.

You can find out more about the particulars by going to smile.amazon.com and clicking on “Learn more about AmazonSmile”. It’s a great way to continue doing what you do and give a little back to the Bard in the Big Bend!


Jef Canter took a few detours on road to acting


Jef Canter from a production of “Stand Tall” at the New York Musical Theater Festival. Canter will play Bottom in the revived Shakespeare festival’s main stage production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Though actor and Tallahassee native Jef Canter decided to pursue a career in theater only 10 years ago, his passion stems from a lifetime of creativity.

While he was growing up in Tallahassee, Canter participated in his school’s choral program, played a few instruments, and acted in local productions put on by Young Actors Theater (then Young Actors Studio.) Canter’s desire to act wasn’t what drew him to Young Actors initially, although it is what made him stay.

“A lot of my friends were in Young Actors, and I thought it looked like a lot of fun, so I went and fell in love with it,” he said. “I loved being on stage.”

Despite a love and talent for the theater, Canter decided to pursue a career as a musician after high school. After spending some time in Chicago and Nashville, Tenn., working in bands and as a songwriter, Canter decided to put his musical career on hold and moved back to Tallahassee to finish his bachelor’s degree at Florida State University. He didn’t study music or theater, though; he graduated from the school of business with a degree in marketing, with the intention of attaining a steadier job.

The full article can be read here: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/entertainment/2015/04/12/jef-canter-took-detours-road-acting/25658603/

Shakespeare Festival merges literature, culture

Renaissance performers on parade all across the park

Karl Etters
Democrat staff writer @KarlEtters on Twitter

Siophan McGovern, right, and Don Seamus Mac Dubhghaill battle to kick off the Southern Shakespeare Festival on Saturday.

Siophan McGovern, right, and Don Seamus Mac Dubhghaill battle to kick off the Southern Shakespeare Festival on Saturday.

A rapier blow to each arm rendered Siophan McGovern unable to defend herself and ended the bout with Don Seamus Mac Dubhghaill. The conversation between their thin swords was for honor, chivalry and the Barony of Oldenfeld in the Kingdom of Trimaris – Northwest Florida – as part of the Society of Creative Anachronism which recreates pre-1600s history. It also kicked off the second day of literature and theater at the Southern Shakespeare Festival at Cascades Park. When Dubhghaill, one of a half-dozen fencers entertaining the crowd, got involved with SCA in 1995, he instantly fell in love with it. Having played the medieval role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, there was a large draw to the group, which is focused on recreating aspects of life from that time period. “This is like real life D&D. I get to fight and I’ve been doing it ever since,” Dubhghaill said. “It’s awesome.” From full-armor combat, jousting, sewing, cooking, dancing and music the SCA, an international living history group, studies and learns about the good aspects of the middle ages and tries to recreate them. “You’re around likeminded people,” Dubhghaill said. “They love history and they’re here for it and the fact that we get to play and do this kind of stuff. There’s nothing like it.” The Bardolatry of the Southern Shakespeare festival returned after a 19-year break from the gathering in Tallahassee.

The full article can be read here:

Spirit of Shakespeare invades Cascades Park


An audience takes in a free performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the Capital City Amphitheater at Cascades Park on Friday.

The Southern Shakespeare Festival’s outdoor production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” caps off the daylong Renaissance Festival. Here is the schedule of today’s events.

10:00 am: Festival opens, all booths and vendors (food and artisan) open.

10:30 am: ON BRIDGE Society for Creative Anachronism Fencing Demonstration 11:00 am: ON STAGE Performance of Midsummer by Ballet Arts Conservatory of Tallahassee

The full article can be read here: 

Return’d so soon: It’s lovely to have The Bard back

The newly revived Southern Shakespeare Festival is presenting “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this weekend in Cascades Park. It’s the same play the Festival did when it premiered in 1996. (Photo: Democrat files)

By: Kati Schardl
Guest columnist

A year ago, on a bright May afternoon, I perched on the edge of a hard narrow wooden seat in the midst of a gaggle of tourists, and thought myself in heaven.

It was the last day of my first-ever visit to London. I had spent the morning mudlarking with my friend Linda on the foreshore of the Thames. Laden with our finds – pottery shards, bits of thick, iridescent glass, long ceramic pipe stems and other small treasures – we had crossed the Millennium Bridge and split up. Linda went into the Tate Modern museum. I had headed for the reconstructed Globe Theatre.

Perched in the stalls, high above where the groundlings would stand, my fellow tourists and I were watching a rehearsal of a scene from “Antony and Cleopatra,” which was almost better than seeing the actual production. Tricky bits of stagecraft were being worked out, with actors on ropes being hoisted above the stage and banners awkwardly brandished. The director and actors and musicians and tech people were all milling about in orchestrated disorder. It was fascinating and thrilling, and it was pure, unadulterated Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote his plays for the Globe, with all its advantages and drawbacks. They were – for the most part – meant to be performed al fresco. Their greatness is that they transcend – and enhance, in the right hands – the environment in which they’re performed. But to see a snippet of a play performed on the stage for which it was written – that was magic, a perfect farewell kiss from London to me, a fervent fan of the Bard.

The full article can be read here: 

‘Midsummer’ is funny, far out fairy tale

ssf-msd-promo-coverNeil Coker, TLH blogger

Everything you need to know about the reborn Southern Shakespeare Festival’s outdoor production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is embodied in a pre-show announcement: Should the roar of a nearby train interrupt the proceedings, the cast will stop the action and invite the audience to join them in singing “Hello, I Love You” by The Doors.

It’s definitely not a traditional, stuffy Shakespearean snooze-fest.

On Wednesday evening, I was treated to an early look at “Midsummer,” a rhapsodic fable of hapless lovers, forest nymphs and meddling forces. Centuries after it was written, it remains the quintessential fairy tale.

The full article can be read here:
Click here to read the full article on tallahassee.com