Bard-a-Zoom-a-Thon event begins public Shakespeare readings Saturday

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 4:11 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre (FST) is putting on a virtual version of its annual Bard-a-Thon reading event starting this Saturday.

This event is an opportunity for those new to the works of William Shakespeare as well as those more familiar with the Bard to have a chance to explore the playwright’s work.

Since 1999, FST has held its annual Bard-a-Thon event in which community members gather around a table, each with a copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, and read all of the Bard’s plays one by one.

This year, the event has been adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FST’s Producing Artistic Director Tom Robenolt explained that the readings, which will begin Saturday at 6 p.m., will happen over Zoom instead of in-person. “This year, you know, you don’t have to get out and drive on the snow or on the ice. You can just do it from the comfort of your own home,” Robenolt said.

Traditionally, the entire Shakespearean canon is read during the event, with readings being scheduled end-to-end 24/7. This year, however, only 15 of the works are being read, allowing for down time between plays.

Robenolt said the selection process involves “Putting more comedies in there than tragedies, just to keep things light. Everybody’s been cooped up.”

Each reading will be facilitated by a volunteer who assigns roles for each scene.

Paul Adasiak, who has been involved with FST since 2010, will be moderating the reading of “The Taming of the Shrew.”

He said that during the event, “You get a chance to play a lot of different roles and races and genders and step into a lot of characters, and also not feel the pressure of having to act on stage at the same time.”

According to Adasiak, the Bard-a-Thon is a yearly affirmation of Shakespeare’s continued relevance. “They get to enjoy some Shakespeare and get their mouths around the words, which can sometimes be difficult, but again in that non-threatening fashion,” he said.

The first play on the schedule will be Twelfth Night, which will begin Saturday at 6 p.m., and the event will run until Sunday, February 28th.

The first reading will be preceded by a pay-as-you-can reading of Titus Andronicus, pre-cast and run by Perseverence Theater.

Those looking to join a reading or listen in can see the full schedule and follow the Zoom link at on Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre’s website.

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