'Grassroots Shakespeare goes in new direction for "Coriolanus" -- by adding a director'


I wrote a feature on "Coriolanus," produced by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company:

The Grassroots Shakespeare Company typically produces plays “sans director” — giving each performer equal voice in the show, and collaborating together while each performer is ultimately in charge of everything about their performance, from costume to acting choices.

But for this year’s annual Halloween show, “Coriolanus,” the company is working under the direction of Grassroots regular Jessamyn Svensson.

“Our process is normally very democratized,” Svensson said. “The actors are entirely in charge. And it’s a really great experiment for the actors to be able to have that responsibility of making sure that the whole show happens, but we’ve also been interested in playing with the idea of including a director on certain shows.”

Svensson said that taking the directorial reigns for this particular show has been helpful in handling the show’s inherently political elements.

“This play covers so much about populism and the political elite, and the conflict between those two,” Svensson said. “And we just got through a crazy election cycle that had a lot of those same issues that came up, so for me, I was like, ‘I think it’s really important that we do this play, but we do it in a way that’s not polarizing.’ So having a third eye, a directorial eye, helped us be able to navigate that in rehearsals in a way that we normally are not able to.”

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