Local women seeks to bring the work of Shakespeare back to the community

aheymann@vagazette.com

Dorothy Raskin used to help with the College of William and Mary's Virginia Shakespeare Festival, however, when the program was discontinued, Raskin couldn't let the Bard's legacy die in the Colonial Capital.

Raskin started the theater troupe Shakespeare Alive to bring the playwright's work straight to the people.

She said she was inspired by the group Shakespeare in the Park in California. Raskin loved the idea of bringing free art to the community.

“I mean, there’s nothing like this in Williamsburg,” Raskin said. “It would be free and people could bring their drinks and their blankets, and it wouldn’t be too long, maybe an hour long.”

The show Raskin has planned for 2nd Sundays will consist of a 10-minute introduction to teach people who Shakespeare is, introduce some characters in the play, and then go into Act Five of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.”

“Act Five is a play within a play,” Raskin said. “All the characters are going to be puppets except the duke, the queen and two other characters.”

To help promote the group, Raskin will host a free performance by guitarist Rich Follett on Saturday, along with auditions for the troupe that evening.

Raskin said she is looking to fill all roles because her actors from last summer were unable to continue this year.She said people of any age, gender and skill level are welcome to try out.

“What really matters is not their age but their commitment,” Raskin said.

Raskin said she wants people who are willing to practice up to twice a week in April or May and can perform at 2nd Sundays from 12:30-4:4:30 p.m.

"Also, in the fall, I want to take (Shakespeare Alive) to schools and senior places,” Raskin said. “But I can’t do anything until I find people who want to be puppeteers and people who want to be actors.”

Want to attend?

The benefit concert will be at 3 p.m. followed by auditions from 7-9 p.m. Saturday at Raskin’s home, 7 Newman Court in Ford’s Colony. Registration ends Thursday; text or call 703-946-0692 or email djhraskin@verizon.net.

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

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