The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company’s
performance philosophy is based primarily on the
original staging practices of acting companies from
Shakespeare’s own period.  The use of original
staging practices is a recent movement in the
production of Shakespeare's plays, a movement
with such proponents as the American
Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia.
Since its founding, the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare
Company has sought to explore such          
original practice elements as:

1. Performance in non-traditional theatrical spaces.
The touring companies of Early Modern England
performed not only in purpose-built playhouses like
the Globe and the Blackfriars, but in such venues as
innyards and noblemen's houses. The Pigeon
Creek Shakespeare Company performs primarily in
non-theatre spaces, including outdoor settings,
bookstores, restaurants, country clubs, bed and
breakfasts, and the Dog Story Theatre, a mutable
black-box style space.  Finding creative ways to use
a variety of spaces -- including theatres of different
architectural types as well as non-theatre spaces --
keeps the actors on their toes and results in an
exciting and spontaneous performance atmosphere.

2. Universal lighting.  Shakespeare's audiences sat
in the same light as the actors, either in outdoor
playhouses or in candle-lit indoor playhouses.  The
members of the audience were visible to the actors
and to each other.  Because of this visible audience,
many playwrights of that era wrote the audience into
their plays, giving the actors lines to speak directly
to the audience.  The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare
Company performs in universal lighting and employs
audience contact in its performances, making
audience members feel as if they are a part of the
play.

3. Minimal sets.  Acting companies of 16th and 17th
century England did not employ the elaborate sets
that 21st century theatre audiences have come to
expect.  The texts of the plays, the actors' actions,
and the audience's imagination helped to transform
a nearly bare stage into all of the locations
necessary in a given play.  The Pigeon Creek
Shakespeare Company follows this practice in
order to maintain an energetic performance pace,
uninterrupted by frequent set changes.  Using
minimal or no sets also means that the company
can travel easily and can perform in venues of many
different sizes without lengthy set-up time.

4.  Cross-gendered casting.  During Shakespeare’s
time, English law did not allow women to perform on
stage, so the female roles in Shakespeare’s plays
were originally performed by boys.  While we do
have female actors to play women’s roles in our
company, you may sometimes see women playing
men or men playing women in the Pigeon Creek
Shakespeare Company’s productions.  Through this
kind of casting, the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare
Company explores the ability of actors to create
characters that are wholly different than the actors
themselves.

5.  Doubling.  Records from Shakespeare’s own
period suggest that the acting companies of the
time were relatively small, typically employing 10-15
actors.  Since many of the plays performed during
the period have 30-40 characters, we know that
each actor played multiple roles in any given
production.  During a performance by the Pigeon
Creek Shakespeare Company, you may see the
same actor play as many as five roles.  This
practice demands great skill from the actors, who
must be able to distinguish their characters very
clearly for the audience.

6.  Company Structure.  In Shakespeare’s time,
actors did more than appear on stage.  They took
part in the business aspects of their acting
companies as well.  The actors of the Pigeon Creek
Shakespeare Company do not only act in
productions.  They are also the primary
administrators of the company and producers of
performances.  
Our Philosophy
the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company
Elle M. Lucksted as Marina in Pericles
(photo by Tim Motley).
Scott Lange and Randy Brown
as Feste and Sir Andrew
Aguecheek in
Twelfth Night
(photo by Tim Motley).
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Michigan's only year-round, touring Shakespeare company
copyright 2012.