About Advice To The Players
- What: To engage students and community to enjoy and benefit from the rich language and passionate action of Shakespeare’s plays as an exploration of our shared humanity
- How: By producing Classical Theater and mentoring young people in a collaborative process that connects theatre professionals, students and community members.
- Why: We believe in the power of live theater to connect community, transform individuals and inspire the next generation with the beauty of the English language
What Wo Do
Advice To The Players is a unique company of theater professionals, enthusiastic community members and energetic teens that has been presenting Shakespeare performances and workshops in New Hampshire’s Lakes and Mountains Region since 1999.
Our Shakespeare presentations are in August during Sandwich Old Home Week, October during the Sandwich Fair, and in March. Venues include the Sandwich Fairgrounds Stage, The Sandwich Town Hall and The Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth. Our December presentation of A Christmas Carol celebrates Victorian Christmas in Tamworth Village.
Our award-winning productions bring William Shakespeare’s richly passionate plays to life and introduce new generations to live theater and to Shakespeare’s brilliantly rendered portraits of humanity. During the school year we offer daytime performances and workshops for schools and student groups and in July we offer Shakespeare Camps for students of all ages.
Opportunities for teens are at the heart of what we do and students are fully integrated into our professional productions. Our mentoring programs are recognized as an effective and positive method for reaching teens struggling to find identity in a complicated stage of life. We provide a nurturing yet challenging environment that helps teens find their voice and take pride in their accomplishments.
Whether you are young or old, or someplace in between…whether you are an actor, technician or simply someone who loves language or theater, come and be a part of our company of players.
Our Theatrical Event
We embrace a style of performing that has its roots in the Elizabethan tradition. This is a style of theater that existed before modern realism and way before movies and television. If we were trying to be really pretentious, we would call it Brechtian. The essence of this performance style is that rather than trying to create an illusion, we consciously create a theatrical event. At times, the audience may be transported into the “world of the play,” but mostly we try to keep our audience right here in the world of this theater on this particular day.
In our productions, sometimes audience members are distracted by elements that destroy the illusion of the play. A comment like this always reminds me how difficult it is to present live theater to audiences that have been raised on movies, TV and theater that tries hard to create and preserve an illusion. To put it more simply, we want our audience to be distracted. We want them to be reminded from time to time that although our play is supposedly set in some faraway place and period, it really takes place right here in New Hampshire.
Using students and locals might make our “professional” performance seem a little uneven, but since we are actually trying to create a theatrical event, amateurs help to remind the audience that this play is being created right here in this community. We are all working together to create a theatrical event—a shared community experience—and we welcome you to our little celebration.
About Our Name
Our unique name comes out of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In the moments before the traveling players are to perform their play, Hamlet speaks to them, giving them advice about how they should perform. This speech is known as Hamlet’s “Advice to the Players”:
“Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature: for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; Go, make you ready. ”
It is wonderful acting advice and perhaps gives us some insight into how Shakespeare would like his plays to be performed. In our productions, we certainly strive to “o’erstep not the modesty of nature.” That is to say, we attempt to portray not characters, but real human beings, the way they are in life, always trying to hold “the mirror up to nature.” Our hope is that you see something of yourself in all of our productions, and that through comedy and tragedy alike, Shakespeare’s words can be a challenge and an inspiration.
We also enjoy support from our ongoing sponsor, The Tamworth Foundation.