Romeo & Juliet!

R&J Banner 4

Unrehearsed Shakespeare is ecstatic to announce that the Bard’s best known play is coming to Mary’s Attic this May!

Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark Street
May 13 @ 7:30pm
May 17 @ 6:00pm
May 20 @ 7:30pm

Come see the legendary love story play out right among you. Come be something great: the Audience!

The Ides of March Have Come and Gone

Julius Caesar has come and gone. It featured an explosive 3.2 with Mark Antony rising the Romans to an eruptive force. 4.2 showed us fascinating alterations in style based on word usage (and the classic Brutus/Cassius fight). And the Conspirators bathed in red veils in place of blood.

Check out these photos below (taken by Angela Davis. Equipment loaned by iNDie Grant Productions).

Access our Production Photos to find more shots from Julius Caesar.

Eyes on Actors: Robbie Bersano


Robbie Bersano, working actor and aging punk, is currently working in “This Is Not a Cure for Cancer” with Collaboraction, running through March 30th.

Q: How did you get involved with Unrehearsed?
ROBBIE: “Jessie invited me to learn the technique and shortly after I was asked to fill in as Verges in Much Ado.”

Q: You’re still fairly new to the technique: has your approach changed much so far? Do you alter your preparation based on comedy vs. tragedy?
ROBBIE: “My approach to Shakespeare in general has changed, looking at the text for clues as to how my character interacts and has opened up my options as far as “acting” choices. As far as comedy vs. tragedy, I tend to look for jokes in comedy that might not be obvious to the audience and find a way to emphasize it without hamming it up.”

Q: One of Unrehearsed’s defining attributes is the lack of the 4th wall. How has that been for you? Is it a challenge to overcome, or is it more liberating for you?
ROBBIE: “I love the lack of 4th wall. It makes sililoquizing much easier when you consider you’re talking directly to the audience. It’s also fun to get them involved, and get them on your side.”

Q: What draws you to Unrehearsed? Do you just love Shakespeare, or is it the freedom? No rehearsals?
ROBBIE: “All of the above. I love the hell out of Shakespeare and I always love a different approach. Unrehearsed is great because you can do it even when you’re already in a show/rehearsals. I also like that I can drink on stage.”

Q: Favorite role?
ROBBIE: “So far, I really enjoyed playing Murder 1 in Mackers. It’s so fun to be evil and have the audience hate you.”

Will you love Robbie or hate him? Come judge for yourself.

March 18 & 25
Justin’s, 3358 N Southport Ave (Just off the Southport Brownline stop)
Doors open at 7:00. Show starts at 7:30
$5 suggested donation at the door

The Revolution will be staged!

Eyes on Actors: Marcee Doherty-Elst


Marcee Doherty-Elst is a Milwaukee-based actor and Co-Founder of TheateRED, host of four Unrehearsed shows to date.

Q. How did your Unrehearsed Shakespeare journey begin?
MARCEE: “As part of something incredible – the audience!  My husband, Christopher Elst, did his first Unrehearsed show the year we started dating, so my journey started as an audience member! I found the direct address with the audience engaging and loved being able to discover parts of the text for the first time right alongside the actors performing (one of my most vivid memories is Glen Wall with a green onion at my 1st Unrehearsed performance at Eureka College in Illinois), but quite honestly, the thought of actually performing Unrehearsed really made me nervous.  But, I couldn’t resist the siren call of the scroll – it was just so incredibly obvious how much fun the actors have performing the show and I wanted to experience that energy. Plus, I had gotten to know many of the actors from being in the audience of so many of Christopher’s shows, so I also wanted to have fun onstage alongside them! I was also really interested to learn the technique and see the impact that it would have on my approach to more conventional performance styles.”

Q: So, has Unrehearsed affected your approach at all?
MARCEE: “Definitely. Most markedly I think it has made me a better listener onstage.  Unrehearsed forces you to listen to others onstage and be present in the moment – and, in fact, it depends on it – and I think it is such an important ability. I also think it has taught me better preparation methods – my favorite point to emphasize when talking to people about Unrehearsed Shakespeare is ‘Unrehearsed is not Unprepared!’ On a purely practical note, making a scroll is a great way to learn and run your lines for any show so that has been useful, as well!”

Q: In addition to acting, you’ve watched your fair share of shows before taking up the scroll. Have you noticed much evolution in the technique over the years, or would you say it’s a pretty solid style?
MARCEE: “Very true – Julius Caesar marks the 6th Unrehearsed Shakespeare show I’ve done, but I still think that I’ve been in the audience for more! I think what I’ve noticed is the product of folks becoming more and more expert in the technique, which results in greater creativity and natural charisma in their performance and in finding ways to engage the audience and tell funny and tragic stories with rich gestural choices. Having been in the audience for so many shows, it is fun to watch actors take on larger and more challenging roles than they have in the past and see them Rock It! So, I guess I’d say that the style seems solid but it is evolving as folks become more experienced in that they continue to find ways to add meaning, depth, and frivolity to their performances. It is also very cool to see new faces – the growth of the troupe makes me really excited for the future of Unrehearsed Shakespeare!”

Q: TheateRED has hosted and produced four Unrehearsed productions in Milwaukee. What can you tell us about the future of the company?
MARCEE: “Unrehearsed Shakespeare will always be a part of Theater RED – our very first Theater RED show was an Unrehearsed performance of The Comedy of Errors in Milwaukee, WI.  We performed free, outside in a park and during the opening monologue, the skies opened up and poured rain on us! Our intrepid actors and about 25 brave audience members scrambled under a very small nearby band shell and it was one of the most engaging performances that I remember! Actors and audience were huddled together – it was really fun! Our second Theater RED show (indoors this time) was Twelfth Night, which we performed in January 2013 on twelfth night, was a huge success with almost 100 people in Milwaukee experiencing Unrehearsed Shakespeare for the first time – it was electric! We’ve also produced Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Merry Wives of Windsor and again had great audiences and a lot of fun – it is great to see audience members coming back for Unrehearsed shows and bringing their friends! There’s nothing else quite like it and we love being able to bring that to Milwaukee.

“Theater RED’s mission involves creating opportunities for new playwrights, providing challenging and prominent roles for women in productions, and establishing a community where learning and creativity are fostered. In 2013, we were able to fire on all 3 of those cylinders with our Unrehearsed shows and our first full production – the world premiere of A Thousand Times Goodnight by a man who needs no introduction in the world of Unrehearsed Shakespeare, Jared McDaris! Looking ahead, we want to continue to produce new works by local playwrights and continue to be focused on shows that provide meaningful work and prominence for the many very talented women around here! Unrehearsed Shakespeare allows us to bring more Shakespeare to Milwaukee and support our Theater RED goals by providing learning opportunities for actors to grow and develop and utilizing gender-blind casting to allow women greater prominence in productions.”

(For more information on Theater RED and their past or upcoming productions, “Like” them on Facebook or visit

Q: Favorite role?
MARCEE: “Gosh, that’s really hard! I guess I’d say I have 2 favorites – I loved playing Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor because of all of the great interaction she has throughout the play with Mistress Ford and Falstaff and I also loved playing Speed in Two Gentlemen of Verona because it is always very challenging but lots of fun to play a Clown/Fool character.”

What’s Marcee gonna play this time?
Find out soon!

March 18 & 25
Justin’s, 3358 N Southport Ave (Just off the Southport Brownline stop)
Doors open at 7:00, show starts at 7:30
$5 suggested donation at the door

Eyes on Actors: Christopher Elst


A co-founder of TheateRED (host of four Unrehearsed shows), Christopher Elst is Milwaukee-based fight director and actor, SAFD Advanced Actor Combatant, and DAI Apprentice Instructor. He’s also a gamer geek and self-proclaimed ‘ultra baldie.’

Q: How did you first start doing Unrehearsed Shakespeare?
CHRISTOPHER: “My main focus as an actor is movement, specifically stage combat, so I spend a lot of time traveling the country attending different workshops. When I attended the Central Illinois Stage Combat Workshop in 2009, Bill Kincaid and Jared McDaris taught a sister workshop in Unrehearsed Shakespeare, culminating in a performance of Henry V. Ever since, I’ve begged, pleaded, cajoled, and threatened to be involved as an actor as often as possible.”

Q: You play a fairly wide range of characters: plenty of bruisers, but also dukes and even clowns. Do you have a favorite type? Does your approach differ depending on whom you’re playing?
CHRISTOPHER: “Shakespeare was good at providing every character with an important function in the story, so whether a duke or a clown, or even a brute, an actor always has great poetry, philosophy, or profanity to give to an audience. I find my favorite type to play are fictional Dukes who come into a scene and set the tone for an act.”

Q: TheateRED has hosted and produced four Unrehearsed productions in Milwaukee. What can you tell us about your company and its goals/destiny?
CHRISTOPHER: “TheateRED allowed Marcee, my wife, and I to create a venue for the things we love most. Theater Education, unconventional productions, and opportunities for local artists. In the future, we intend to try and advance Unrehearsed Shakespeare even further by creating a permanent place for it in Milwaukee and a better understanding of its value.”

Q: How does Unrehearsed relate to more conventional productions? Do you see any overlap at all, or are they entirely different animals?
CHRISTOPHER: “I try to put a little unrehearsed into everything I do. All productions could benefit from better close-reading of the text, more listening, and clearer intentions. While I can see how most shows written with the fourth wall in mind would not benefit from the audience-friendly style of Unrehearsed, it does arm actors with tools they did not have before and, perhaps more importantly, makes Shakespeare instantly vital and relevant to audiences whom he might otherwise have missed.”

Q: Favorite role?
CHRISTOPHER: “Sir Toby Belch, of course. He’s a perfect character for me: boisterous, cowardly, manipulative, and filled to bursting with dirty-minded philosophy. And getting to play him in a bar meant I could drink everyone’s beer and have them cheer me for it.”

Chris returns to the bars next week!

March 18 & 25
Justin’s, 3358 N Southport Ave (Just off the Southport Brownline stop)
Doors open at 7:00. Show starts at 7:30
$5 suggested donation at the door

Rome is calling! Come and answer it!

Eyes on Actors: Alex Boroff


Alex Boroff has been with Unrehearsed since 2012, when she made her debut as Phoebe in Bard in the Barn’s As You Like It. In Chicago, she spends much of her time working with Ups For Downs, producing musicals with children and young adults with Down’s Syndrome.

Q: How did you first join Unrehearsed Shakespeare?
ALEX: I first started with Unrehearsed Shakespeare by attending a workshop in the summer of 2012. I loved how free the technique allowed me to be (even with all it’s rules) and it gave me a chance to play with some of my favorite and most famous roles without a lengthy rehearsal process.

Q: How does your approach to Unrehearsed shows differ from more conventional productions? Has Unrehearsed has influenced your conventional acting at all? Or Vice versa?
ALEX: “I start with the mathematics of the track. I go through and mark my stress beats, highlight my YOUs and THEEs and underline key action words. Then when I start running through my scroll as I prepare, I find new and interesting actions on my feet that I never would have thought of at my desk, and then jot notes and suggestions to Future Alex down on the scroll. The familiarity with the words comes to me with practice. In conventional productions, I focus more on memorization at the onset of my preparation, because my memory is SO horrible I want to tackle that issue first. Then the technical blocking and action work comes later. Unrehearsed allows me to get the table work out of the way immediately, as in-the-moment work is so much more important. Unrehearsed has given me more of a comfort with improvisation (something I’ve always struggled with) and loosened my inhibitions against making BOLD choices. This has been especially helpful in audition settings.”

Q: This is your first tragedy since Antony & Cleopatra in 2012 (where you played the Sooth Sayer). Has your work changed much over the year/s?
ALEX: “I’m much more comfortable in the technique now. Antony & Cleopatra was so difficult because I was playing quite a few characters, and was more worried about technically doing the technique correctly than I was about my performance. With every show, I become more comfortable in the style so I can focus more on what I’m saying and putting forth a character, knowing that the choices I make will coincide with the technique.”

4. Speaking of Antony & Cleopatra: that show (and As You Like It) were performed in the wide open spaces of The Ravine at Western Illinois University, while Chicago shows typically go down at bars. How does the space-difference affect your work? Do you have a favorite venue?
ALEX: “Wide open spaces are lovely because you have more freedom to run around and make physically dynamic choices. I actually prefer the bar settings though, because when you have those spatial constraints, you really need to focus your attention on the audience. Being a foot from someone’s face makes that 4th wall non-existent from the start. You know how people seem to connect with characters on TV because that person basically comes into your living room every night? It’s hard not to connect with an actor in front of your face asking you questions directly. It’s terrifying and exciting. My favorite venue so far has been in the Black Rock Pub. We were so full during Twelfth Night 2013 that we had NO space to move, but actors started jumping over chairs, tables, audience members and each other to compensate. It felt like a playground!”

Q: Favorite role?
ALEX: “My favorite role has to be a toss-up between Maria in Twelfth Night and Phoebe in As You Like It. Phoebe is so funny and has so many lovely contradictions in her speeches that the audience connects with. I’ve played Maria before in a conventional setting, but nothing beats the instant family connection with Toby and Augecheek when they’re planning their prank. Each of us supported the other and kept raising the energy level until we were literally shouting back and forth with joy. Very hard to go to sleep after that show…”

Why sleep? Be part of the Roman Revolution!

March 18 & 25
Justin’s, 3358 N Southport Ave
Doors open at 7:00, show starts at 7:30
$5 suggested donation at the door

Rome is calling! Sit down and be counted!

2014 Season Announced!

With Twelfth Night come and gone, our 2014 Season has officially been Announced!



After three years of struggling, Unrehearsed Shakespeare is FINALLY staging this historic favorite about hubris & honor, ambition and anxiety. The Ides of March will herald a bloody affair in ancient Rome this year.

Those Ides keep on comin'

Those Ides keep on comin’

Keeping with the crowd-pleasers, we’ll be bringing you our first production of Romeo & Juliet this wedding season. Unrehearsed scholar and godfather Bill Kincaid calls R&J “A broad experiment in overlapping dialog. It’s just everywhere.” Come watch the truthfully chaotic passions of young love collide in the quintessential Lovers’ Tragedy.

Zack Meyer & Erin O'Connor in Bard in the Barn's R&J (2007)

Zack Meyer & Erin O’Connor in Bard in the Barn’s R&J (2007)

Summer’s end brings you a fast-paced double-header. The Hour of Errors, Unrehearsed’s one-hour cutting of The Comedy of Errors, has been produced on a pirate ship and under a storm-beset bandshell, but now we’re finally bringing it to the bars of Chicago. Paired with this sixty-minute-laughstravaganza is a first: Double Falsehood. Allegedly an adaptation of Cardenio, Theobald’s experiment will be put to the One True Test of Verse: The Unrehearsed technique.

Cast of Bard on the Boat's Hour of Errors (2012)

Cast of Bard on the Boat’s Hour of Errors (2011)

HENRY V (October)
Celebrate Saint Crispin’s Day the only way you can: with the Gloried Warrior King. Alarums aplenty, atrocious accents, laughable leeks, and the most famous inspirational speech of all time make this a must-see event.

"We few, we happy few"

“We few, we happy few”

Check out that spread! And check out Unrehearsed Shakespeare in 2014!

Twelfth Night is back on!

After a tragic venue-closing, Twelfth Night is back to rock the house!

January 14th, Tuesday, at 7:30!
@ Justin’s, 3358 N Southport Ave (just off the Southport Brownline stop)
$5 Suggested Donation at the door
Doors open at 7:00
Show starts at 7:30!

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Come achieve greatness with us, and possibly have some thrust upon you.

Bard on!

12th Night Promo 2

The anticipation is killing us!

Twelfth Night mark II Canceled

Tragically, and disturbingly, Twelfth Night (Jan 7) has been canceled due to weather concerns on behalf of the venue.

Although we are looking to reschedule our second performance, we do not yet have any solid information. Please stay tuned for more Unrehearsed!

Twelfth Night On Twelfth Night (01/14)

Twelfth Night On Twelfth Night (01/05/14)

Eyes on Actors: Lauren Miller

Lauren Miller

Lauren Miller, a perennial performer, is back for more Twelfth Night!

Q: Describe your first experience with Unrehearsed Shakespeare.
LAUREN: My first Bard in the Barn Show was Two Gentlemen of Verona and it was extremely cold outside. I think one of my characters was Lucetta, I was Erin O’Conners mad and this was during her Miss Illinois time and her character needed a picture of herself and I had to hand her one of her Miss Illinois pins. At the time I didn’t get it.

Q: For you, how is Unrehearsed Shakespeare different from more conventional shows? Do you have a preference?
LAUREN: It’s way more exciting! With a conventional show you see the cast list, you have rehearsals, you know everyone’s blocking and you know the show. With Unrehearsed sometimes you’ve never read the play, you only know your lines because you don’t have the entire script like you would with a conventional play, you only know your blocking from your text sessions, and you don’t know who else is in the cast. For all you know Juliet is going to be played by a dude. It makes it so much more fun! I definitely love Unrehearsed more.

Q: You’ve performed outdoors with Bard in the Barn, in the larger Sunset Studio in Milwaukee, and in the cozy bars of Chicago. How does space affect your performance?
LAUREN: With Barn in the Barn it was sometimes harder to perform because of the weather and how cold it would get. Performing indoors makes it much easier to focus on your scroll. It’s also easier to connect with the audience and get them more involved because of the tight space.

Q: Do you find that your technique/approach has changed over time?
LAUREN: I’d like to think my technique has improved since i started when I was a freshman. I’ve definitely learned a lot just from continuing to perform, learning from peers, and taking Bill’s Unrehearsed Shakespeare class. But I’m still learning every time I take on a new scroll.

Q: Finally: favorite role?
LAUREN: I would have to say Maria in Twelfth Night. I got to play the part for Bill’s Unrehearsed Shakespeare class. It was one of the biggest roles I had ever got cast as and it was so much more challenging. It was a part where I was really able to improve my technique and understand text sessions. It was also just a really fun role to play because she’s so cunning and mischievous!

You can see Twelfth Night tonight! Come join us for some magic.

January 7th
JUSTIN’S, 3358 N Southport Ave, second floor
Doors open at 7:00, show starts at 7:30
$5 Suggested Donation

PLUS: After the show, we’ll be announcing our Season lineup for 2014.