My mother and I share a lot of things between us; our eyes, our attendance at James Madison University for our undergraduate education (’74-’78 and ’04 and ’08 respectively), and a love of plays (Shakespearean and otherwise).
During my time at JMU, my mother would often come up and visit me and we would trek all over Harrisonburg and Staunton going to local events. In that time I learned she had never been to the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton. As an English major and Medieval and Renaissance studies minor I was up to my elbows in Shakespeare and other playwrights and often found myself at the Blackfriars for pleasure or for a class assignment.
In February of 2008, I was taking a “Medieval and Renaissance Plays” course and we had just read Volpone by Ben Jonson. My mother’s birthday was coming up so I thought that, for her gift, I would give her the full experience of the Blackfriars by taking her there to see the production of Volpone.
Using the handy dandy guide to the play that was included in the brochures for the non-academic types, and with a little help from me to translate what was happening, she fell in love with both the Blackfriars atmosphere as well as the interactions between the cast and the audience. More specifically, she told me how much she loved John Harrell’s performance (Volpone).
Afterward she told me that being at the Blackfriars made her feel like she’d been transported back in time. Three years later, I took her to see her first Shakespeare play at the Blackfriars, Twelfth Night which she thoroughly enjoyed as well.
So thank you, ASC, for helping my mother and I connect by sharing our love for Shakespeare and plays with you at the Blackfriars.
– Roseanne North, Manassas, VA