Heed the Past, Create the Future
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August, 2010 
Heed the Past, Create the Future

In This Issue
Spotlight On
All the World's a...
Feature: Season 10 Review
Buzz, Buzz
ASC Survey
Spotlight On:
Jean Brassard

Next month, ASC welcomes back Quebec-born singer Jean Brassard, 
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who will open Season
11 with the U.S. premiere of his acclaimed one-man show, The Kid from Paris, celebrating the life of the Italian-born French icon, Yves Montand, on the stage of NJCU's West Side Theater from September 10 - 19.

A New Yorker sin
ce 1982, Jean Brassard has been building a career on stage, television and film since his arrival.  His work ranges from stints as a sports commentator for the Worldwide Wrestling Federation to a correspondent for Radio-Canada's TV show "La fosse aux lionnes."

"The life story of Yves Montand is a
fascinating melange of mixed worlds," says Mr. Brassard,  "from the slums of Marseille to international star...music hall stage to Hollywood, concert stages from Russia to South America."

Montand had 3 great love affairs with famous women--a long marriage to Simone Signoret, an early affair with Edith Piaf that brought stardom, and a life-changing affair with Marilyn Monroe.  Can ASC audiences expect a spicy anecdote or two about the matinee idol?

Signoret, Montand, Monroe
Signoret, Montand and Monroe

Come to the West Side Theater!  Mr. Brassard will perform his own interpretation of the song and dance style that Montand was famous for.  Within the evening's two acts are 22 songs from Montand's massive portfolio, designed to place the audience in the company of an artist as he plants roots, grows and flourishes.

For more of Mr. Brassard's bio, click this link:

Jean Brassard in Performance

All the World's a ...
     by Carla Stockton
Before you cue up for those "free"
tickets to see Sha
kespeare in the Park,
consider the meaning of the word free . . .
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Last summer, my daughter, visiting from Thailand, thought to avail ourselves of this uniquely New York experience and, armed with blankets, books and a baguette for breakfast, we arrived at the 81st Street entrance at 2:30 a.m. The line didn't seem too long, and we hunkered down to await the opening of the park at daylight.
As the moonlight filtered faintly through the trees, I realized we were not at the end of the line but in the middle of it. Miraculously, no one gave us a hard time, and I didn't move. Unethical, I know, but I rationalized that I was old enough to have paid plenty of taxes to have earned this and... well, you see where this is going.  If we had gone to the end of the line when we arrived, we would not have procured tickets! People had been there since 11 o'clock the night before. We were less professional than some. Campers in tents, sleepers on air mattresses dozed patiently in the waning starshine; and as a throng, we moved into the park at daylight. The line stayed intact, and the well prepared set themselves up for the real sleep of the encampment, in the breezy early morning cool.

There's a culture to the line at the Delacorte, and as the morning light comes up in the Park, the campers begin to cooperate with one another, holding line places for those needing that long-overdue bathroom break or for the brave souls who venture outside to hit the nearest Starbucks.
Conversations abound now, even among those who believe they will never see one another again. Lots of discussion around the other plays we've spent the night in the park awaiting, old folks like me imparting memories of the early years of this Papp burst of brilliance. We love to say we were here for
Hair or Two Gentlemen of Verona or, especially last summer, to denigrate the star-studded casting of the season, even though few will admit that it is precisely this casting that brings us out in droves!

By 8:00, for those of us without air mattresses, the ground loses all pretense of comfort.  The snack bar at the theater opens and offers its limited fare, and the less daring gather there or on the now long wait for the rest rooms.  It's a unisex wait wherever you go; the men's room is no more accessible than the ladies'. It's too hot to go back to sleep, too difficult to read, and the wait is officially interminable.  And yet, miraculously, Noon arrives, and the Papp-paid youngsters who have been riding herd on the line since before daybreak are announcing that they are about to dole out the tickets. Rules and
regulations are barked at the hopefuls; the rude fact that some of us will be designated "standby" becomes apparent, and we all stand, stomping on the ground impatiently until, at last, around 1:30 pm the line begins to move, and we get our tickets, and we go home to get some rest.  Only to return -- meet me in front of Romeo
and Juliet at 7:15! -- to stand yet again on cue before we are admitted to Paradise.

Once seated, even the cloying sounds of airplanes overhead and the scratching, screeching
sounds of nature bullying us for a peek, can't ruin the moment.  It's star studded Shakespeare, and it's free!
Ms. Stockton is a friend to ASC, and has written the CliffsNotes of Hamlet.
Welcome to the new Actors Shakespeare Company at New Jersey City University Newsletter.  The Messenger was a role used many times by our Will of the Quill to advance his story, and because our goal this season and beyond is to advance our own story, we think The Messenger is an apt title. 

In our premiere issue you'll find our feature article, the review of the past season by ASC Producing Artistic Director Colette Rice.  In "Buzz, Buzz," our current events column, you'll also learn about the upcoming season, which promises to be the busiest ever for ASC.  Every issue we'll cast the spotlight on a company, staff or board member and in this issue you'll meet Jean Brassard, whose one-man show kicks off Season 11 in September.  "All the World", our Shakespeare-at-large story, will be of general interest to all Bardaholics, as you'll virtually camp out with a Shakespeare-in-the-Park fan and her quest for a free summer ticket in Central Park.
We urge you to take our survey.  It'll take just a moment and it will help us understand who's at the party and how we can spice it for a moveable feast.
You'll find the survey link below.

Of course we'd be grateful if you were to forward this to friends, so please use the link for forwarding The Messenger on, and they'll have the option to subscribe, too.


Peter Galman
Actors Shakespeare Company at NJCU
Season 10 Review
   by Colette Rice, ASC Producing Artistic Director

ASC's 10th Anniversary Season, Foolish Mortals, displayed both the Company's versatility and its creativity under duress. During one of the most challenging budget crises in its history, ASC's artists and board came together with strong support from NJCU to bring our patrons a season of mainstage and ASC Lab projects ranging from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth, to Lope de Vega's Madness in Valencia and an evening of early sketches by Anton Chekhov. NJCU's commitment to ASC remains strong and determined, even in such a daunting financial environment, and the efforts made over the past year have strengthened our position as we look towards the coming season. In short, ASC's future has never been brighter.


Over the past year, several Company members have successfully assayed the role of Play Master for both the mainstage and our lab projects, while I have focused my energies on steering the ASC ship through the challenges of budget cuts and dwindling funding opportunities. The result is a stronger and broader-based artistic team as well as a rejuvenated and re-focused staff.


The ASC Education Department expanded to serve ten fourth grade classes throughout Jersey City, as well as St. Joseph's School for the Blind. The Company also continued its previous programs at the A. Harry Moore School and several Hudson County schools who attended our student matinee season. Approximately 300 students from the Hudson County area attended special student matinees of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and ASC teaching artists visited classrooms throughout Hudson County, sharing the joys of Shakespeare and live theater with students from 4th grade through high school.


The ASC board and staff are working diligently to expand the Company's funding and audience base and to continue to solidify support and community participation.  We turn our sights toward the future as we embark on our next decade, Season Eleven: Love's Transgressions.  We look forward to sharing this and other exciting programming with our patrons as the season unfolds. See you at the theater!

Buzz, Buzz
The new season's theme is Love's Transgressions
Season 11 for ASC at NJCU will be the fullest
calendar since its early days when it ran unrehearsed shows consecutively (go to ASC's past seasons).  ASC will offer four mainstage shows this season, including two Shakespeare plays, a small-cast Romeo & Juliet and a large-cast The Tempest.  The season opens with a production that is a cabaret musical event, the U.S. premiere of The Kid from Paris, a portrait of the legendary Yves Montand by Quebec-born performer Jean Brassard.  Later, there will be the World Premiere of Paul Fleischman's Logomaniacs.  Described as a literary vaudeville, Logomaniacs explores the obsessive love of words.

In addition, the ASC Lab will return, offering ASC artists a chance to work on a variety of repertoire in a classroom environment over several weeks and then affording our patrons with a chance to see the results of those studies on our Lab stage. There are 4 mainstage productions and 3 lab projects planned for the season from mid-September through mid-June. Performances take place at NJCU's West Side Theater.

Producing Artistic Director Colette Rice is calling the season "Love's Transgressions".  She sees this theme playing throughout Romeo & Juliet, where the phrase is quoted.  In this great love tragedy, "Love, itself, is the transgressor," says Colette.  In The Tempest, Prospero reveals in his great, long exposition that he and his daughter have been transgressed by his brother, while others like Ariel and Caliban try to heal from abuses they have suffered. The theme is carried in some of Yves Montand's love songs and continued in Logomaniacs and its examination of the obsession famous wordsmiths have had with words.

ASC audiences will again enjoy free viewing this season when invited to look in on the work of the ASC ensemble in its Lab projects.  Shakespeare's Queens covers a range of characters including Queen Elizabeth 1.  Following will be an exploration of George Bernard Shaw's The Millionairess, and near the end of the season, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia.  As labs, these projects' goals are educational and explorational.  ASC ensemble players are lead by a play master who applies ASC textwork and ensemble workshop techniques to the non-Shakespearean words of classic authors.

Looking ahead, ASC will be mailing its Season 2010-2011 Brochure.  Look for it in the mail.  If you're not sure you're on the mailing list, send your name and address here in an email to info@ascnj.org.

We'd like to know more about you so we can more effectively market our product.  Please click the link below and take our brief survey

Reader / Audience Survey


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Next Issue
The Messenger, in our "Back to School" September Issue, will feature:
  • Our audience survey results
  • Jersey City community profile
  • Spotlight On the new ASC Educational Director, Elizabeth Belonzi
  • many of the extras you found here, and more!
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Open Source Shakespeare
The 1864 Globe edition of the Complete Works, with an advanced search function and a concordance to find individual words and phrases

First Folio text
From the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Octavo, a digital facsimile of the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays

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