Red, White and Bard

Red, White & Bard – A Celebration of William Shakespeare in America

My one-man play Red, White & Bard is the culmination of more than two decades of incorrigible bardolatry as well as ten years of performing at schools and elsewhere as an actor-educator with Shakespeare in the Vines. RWB is a solo performance celebrating America’s 300-year love affair with Shakespeare, using humor, wit, and stuffed animals from The Lion King, and many other surprises.

Besides exploring the ways in which Shakespeare has influenced Americans, I also talk about what he has meant to me personally. I touch on my initial negative experience with his works in high school; my college years when I did my best to avoid him; and my year in exile northeast Pennsylvania as an editorial assistant with Highlights for Children when I finally fell in love with his plays. As I put RWB together, I began to realize that Shakespeare—for better or worse—has shaped my life.

I perform at least two versions of RWB depending on (1) my audience; and (2) how much time we have together. One version of the show is primarily meant for middle and high schoolers. It foregoes the personal stuff about me and goes directly to all the fun bits—how the Lion King is actually Hamlet on safari; why Shakespeare really did write the plays despite the fact that he was a middle-class, under educated, small-town schmuck; how Independence Day is like Henry V; why Abe Lincoln preferred Macbeth; and the toxic effect of Keanu Reeves on American Shakespeare. The longer version keeps the fun stuff, but throws the personal stuff and a few extra speeches as well as the fun parts

My goal with RWB is always to keep the Shakespeare’s works exciting, approachable, and memorable. Whether I do the show for a roomful of senior citizens or an auditorium full of fidgety middle schoolers, RWB entertains as well as educates. But mostly entertains!

If you’re a teacher, administrator, Broadway producer, or anyone else that would like me to perform RWB at your fine establishment, let me know.

Send me an email if you’d like to explore having me come to your venue in the near future!

Rob Crisell