Tremendous idea, Clayton. Gives a whole new meaning to "the great Globe itself."

Quoting Clayton Stromberger <>:

Robert —

Love all these ideas, and thanks for the reminder about the Weekenders performances, which were really for me the highlight of that day in 2010, looking back. I can remember everyone of them vividly, especially Leigh Hopper as Charla the Wrestler demolishing Don Brode’s Orlando with sensual cruelty — I hadn’t laughed that hard in years.

And if I wrote a missive, forgive me, not my intent….! I had been writing all day and I think my chatty fingers didn’t realize how fast they were talking. There may have been a margarita (or two) involved as well. I wasn’t trying to really argue a point; I think what I was trying to express was a gentle skepticism not about anyone meeting up in Austin per se but about a “weeklong" crew trying to meet early when not everyone could be there together at the start. I think it would have been hard to get our rude mechanicals together, say, in 2015, given how busy everyone was leading up to that week.

Doc you had a great point on this: Let’s not worry yet about what we can’t do. Well said. All of these ideas are positive and exciting.

Next, real quick, while I have you: Jon I think the music idea is brilliant too and would be wonderful to have a whole performance just of songs from over the years, yes.

And finally, one new idea to toss in, inspired by what I’ve heard so far: I keep thinking about folks who might not be able to come to Texas that week or weekend, for whatever reason, but would really want to play and celebrate too. With all the high-tech whizzes who have gone through the program, seems like we could create a “virtual Barn” somehow that would gather streamed or filmed performances by alumni all over the planet on a special reunion website. With the three year lead time we should be able to write a grant for something like that.

I am involved in a small way with a project an English prof is doing in the spring semester (John Rumrich) in which he’s going to attempt to connect two different groups of students studying Shakespeare, one at UT and one in Hangzhou, China, as part of a “Global Classrooms” initiative sponsored by the International Office at UT. The idea is to have each group explore plays and scenes and then somehow through the magic of streaming create a simultaneous shared performance (the Chinese class would meet at 8 a.m., the UT one in the evening occasionally, so you can have the exchange of ideas, conversation, performances). So you might have the Chinese team playing the fairies and the UT students playing the lovers, say, using screens so everyone can see each other live.

That’s kind of what made me think of a virtual Barn, after reading Carl’s note, and now yours too Robert, as a way of widening the circle even bigger (we the globe can compass soon...). I am clueless about the technology, but this could be an innovative model for other former-student groups, perhaps? And something that could live on digitally? There might be folks at UT who could help visualize how this might work and figure out how to find funding for it and I’d be happy to pursue this notion and would love to hear any thoughts if this seems worth exploring.



On Aug 12, 2017, at 4:57 PM, Robert Faires <<>> wrote:

Late arrival, as usual, but still on board for the reunion in whatever capacity is helpful.


Anon, anon, sir.]

Clayton's missive when he was on leave from the past sparked some thoughts in my mind. With regard to meeting up in Austin before all congregate at Winedale, I concede his point that it's a challenge to build a sense of ensemble that way, but as a member of the weekend reunion company in 2010, I feel that we managed to do that. Granted, we were a smallish group, but the mindset and enthusiasm and spirit of play were all in place every time we got together, and we had only a day or two at Winedale before we performed, but I felt that we bonded pretty well in that time and had a lot of fun pulling our scenes together. (God bless the late Lizz Ketterer for being such an inspiration there.) That's to say I think meeting beforehand in Austin or elsewhere is still worth considering as we discuss how to mine more reunion time together out of the days leading up to the 50th.

I've also been thinking about all the alums who might not be able to set aside a full week to spend at Winedale before the reunion but who might want to participate in some way. What if each of those folks were assigned a sonnet or a Kenneth Patchen poem (!), and at some point everyone who had one could perform theirs under the pecan trees, the way the weekend reunion class did its scenes in 2010? It'd be a nod to the early days when Doc would assign those to students before class started and we would perform them for one another on the first nights we were at Winedale, and it would give people a chance to feel like they're a part of the celebration and particularly the performance aspect of it. And since those works are short, it allows a large number of people to take part. It might also be a cool way to include more alums from Camp Shakespeare and James' classes as well as Doc's. Personally, I'd love to see 12 year olds interpreting sonnets alongside us AARP types. And it wouldn't necessarily have to be all solo performances. If 2 or more alums wanted to do a sonnet together so they could have a chance to play with someone, why not? Rob Matney and I hosted a sonnet marathon once, with people signing up to read the sonnets, and it took just a couple of hours to get through all of them. Anyway, I just throw that out there as a suggestion for giving more people a chance to get involved and as a way to celebrate the 50th with something that hasn't ever been done before at Winedale (to my knowledge).

Lastly, this from the late guy: How great to follow in the wake of so much enthusiasm and shared love for this program and the grand gift Doc has given us. Here's to making the golden anniversary gleam!

Anon, anon. I come.

On Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 10:31 AM, Clayton Stromberger <<>> wrote:
Inne!  (the Elizabethan spelling)

I love that line and I don’t remember being there to hear it spoken by Alice (though now I’m pausing to imagine it, and Alice, you sound wonderful, I can feel the joy of reunion in it). I was 12 and was probably at Lost Pines Boy Scout Camp with Troop 1 demonstrating my ineptitude with knots yet again and so I missed the boat, so to speak, on that performance. But I can certainly still hear and see Jeff Larsen in 1983 busting out those words with a full tank of air (and full beard) from the balcony, Dave Sharpe grinning jauntily beside him and punctuating Jeff’s line about the Master “capering to aye her” by propping his foot triumphantly up on the railing and planting his elbow on his knee as if to say, “How about THAT, matey?!”

I feel fairly certain Jeff won the Boatswain Award that year as well.

I confess to being a bit disoriented upon receipt of these emails, but happily so, as I was knee deep and inch thick in the middle of the last reunion mentally and emotionally (and archivally…. for those of you who weren’t in the 2015 class, I have been working for some time on a written account of some of that week, as much as I can tell well, and I’ve promised it absolutely positively by the 2nd anniversary of the 45th anniversary, and Alice is awaiting a draft to edit this Sunday….) — and in fact I had just been re-reading your one-year-out invitation for 2015, Doc, when your three-years-out trumpet call for 2020 came in.

As they say, if you’re one year early for something like this you’re actually two years late, so thank you Doc for teaching us once again what it means to truly be prepared for the big moment. Carly Simon would have to admit that nobody does it better than you.

I must continue to dwell in the reunion of 2015 by my own spell (i.e. by my own challenges as a writer) until I can be released by the help of my own two hands as they move across the keyboard in what my prayers hope will be flowing chain of letters and spaces. The gentle breath of many of you has filled my sails and my Word documents, and my project is still to please; but I must leave the island soon and I hope you can pardon the delayer once he delivers his manuscript.

After that every third thought will be seeing as many of you as possible and playing with as many of you as possible in the summer of 2020 and especially lots of folks new to the reunion experience. It’s so cool to already hear the new voices in these responses. In the true spirit of Winedale, the circle keeps expanding (hi Shanna, Maria, Adarsh, Aubrey…!)

Before I go back to the island of the 2015 reunion (I was given a 10-minute pass to the present day but the ferry is waiting) I’ll toss in a few shells and sand dollars: To my ear the working-in-town-a-bit-before idea is interesting, as any extra time of playing together and hearing those words and listening to one another is all to the good; but the main problem for many of us would continue to be getting a big chunk of time clear and free, and I think it would be difficult to find a way for a large group to feel like an ensemble in Austin, living in different places, coming to different spaces, before heading out to Round Top/ Winedale for time together.

Maybe the reunion could be 8-10 days out in Fayette County instead of 7, all together? I know the departure of the summer class is an element in the time window. Two weeks would be impossible for many folks, but maybe even a few extra days could have an impact? How to do that and still have the celebration on a weekend for out of town visitors and family is a challenge too.

I would be thrilled at the idea of three groups diving into three plays at once, though then you have a new challenge of the third space — unless two groups could share Winedale? With Hazel’s and the pecan shade and the dormitory classrooms there would be room to spread out and occasionally get out of the AC, though I know there is a new director at Winedale and I have not met her and don’t know how much that would cost.

There was much discussion two years ago and afterwards about the tradeoff of doing two plays (the two ensembles can really only cross paths briefly, since there is much to do and not much time in which to do it) but I think the Wednesday night explosion of play where each group shared an hour’s worth of work-so-far proved that something remarkable can happen when you can take a turn being in the audience and then have an opportunity to be swept up in and inspired by the incredible work of a fellow team of players. That gave us a boost that nothing else could have given. Winedale at its best is a place where we learn much from each other, and I think that night was a vibrant living proof of that. So I’d love to be a part of more of that sharing. The idea of Camp graduates being a part of it is exciting too. We are all your students Doc, that is really clear when I see the Camp performances.

And I also feel that doing a play (instead of scenes) gave the week a much deeper and more intense arc, as tough as it could be on the folks with large roles. The two reunions with scenes had wonderful moments but felt more scattered to me emotionally. The singing of “Dream” at the end of Midsummer made Don Brode and I want to bawl when we looked at each other while waiting to step onstage because of all the blood sweat mud and tears that had gone into the two hours before it and the wonder of the stories we told as a group in that time. I think the sense of challenge and achievement is greater too.

Okay the ferry horn is blaring — I’ll holler at you when I set sail with a draft to share on the 19th.

Love and admiration to you all,


On Aug 8, 2017, at 7:36 PM, James Ayres <<>> wrote:

Only a few of you will remember that famous line spoken by Alice Gordon in 1973 at the end of The Tempest for which she won the Boatswain Award for good news. Major moment. You had to be there.

Well, the best news now is that the kids in Camp Shakespeare explored new worlds and met delightful inhabitants in Navarre (LLL), Sicilia and Bohemia (WT) and celebrated their discoveries for wonderful audiences. We had another great summer. Thanks to those of you who contributed to their success through gift and audience. We are growing another generation of Shakespeareans, many of them sons and daughters of you guys.

We are also approaching the 50th—count ‘em f i f t y— anniversary of Shakespeare at Winedale in 2020. So I’d like to hear some suggestions about how to celebrate THIS reunion. A week in the country again? Two plays again? Or one? Yes, it is early, but this one is big and may be my last, alas. So please give it some thought. I guess that we would once again need a “reunion committee”? What do you think? I’m eager to get a’going.

With a hay and a ho and a hey nonny,


Jim (Doc) Ayres
Professor Emeritus, The University of Texas
Founding Director, Shakespeare at Winedale and Camp Shakespeare
Director of Mission, Camp Shakespeare

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Robert Faires
Arts Editor
The Austin Chronicle

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