Plimoth Players' Blog

A brand new Shakespeare troupe at Plimoth Plantation

Announcing our First Annual Shakespeare Festival!

August 1st, 2013 by Amanda

When: Friday, August 9th 11am-5pm and Saturday, August 10th 1pm-5pm

Where: Plimoth Plantation

Who: Any guest who purchases an admission ticket to the museum will be welcome to participate in our Shakespeare Festival Events.  This event is great for all ages!

Bring your family to the First Annual Plimoth Players Shakespeare Festival on Friday, August 9th and Saturday, August 10th. Try performing on stage during our Shakespeare Theater Open House, catch previews of our summer productions of Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It, watch sword fighting demonstrations and participate in other family-friendly Shakespeare activities like mask decorating.  You’ll even have a chance to win free tickets at our Insult-Like-Shakespeare competition.  Activities will occur all day on Friday and Saturday and most activities are free to ticketed guests.  For more information on the Plimoth Players summer productions, visit the Plimoth Plantation website.


Listen to the Plimoth Players on the Radio!

July 23rd, 2013 by Amanda

Tonight the Plimoth Players will be featured on The Sweeney and Malone Show on 95.9 WATD FM.

The show will be streamed live exclusively online from 6:15-8pm.

To Listen, visit: or Click the image above


This is the Forest of Arden!

July 19th, 2013 by Amanda

Well, this is the forest of Arden.

Rosalind, As You Like It, Act 2 Scene 4

Rehearsals are well underway for Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It and lots of interesting things are happening!  Here at Plimoth Plantation we are fortunate to have a great indoor rehearsal space in our Shakespeare Theatre, but there is also ample outdoor space that can be used for rehearsals.  One of those spaces is the Henry Hornblower Garden, a beautiful space often rented out for weddings or private events.  Since a good portion of As You Like It takes place in the forest of Arden, it is always interesting for our actors to spend some time rehearsing outside.  Check out the pictures below of As You Like It rehearsals in the Hornblower Garden.

Tell Us the Manner of the Wrestling

July 17th, 2013 by Amanda

“You tell us the manner of the Wrestling.”

-Rosalind, As You Like It, Act I Scene II

As You Like It opens with a wrestling match between Charles, a famous and brutal wrestler, and Orlando, the young gentleman who has fallen in love with Rosalind.  When researching wrestling of the 16th and 17th century, I came across numerous historical accounts of wrestling, but more surprisingly I found blog posts and articles comparing the modern American entertainment, WWE Wrestling, with Shakespeare’s plays.  WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment, is “the recognized leader in global sports entertainment” according to their website.  The company presents scripted wrestling competitions with predetermined outcomes and some larger than life characters.  The articles argue that Shakespeare’s plays served 16th and 17th century audiences in the same way these wrestling performances serve a modern audience:  both WWE wrestling and Shakespeare’s plays are performances that tell a narrative story, both feature similar stock characters (the hero, the villain, the fool), and both were written for the purpose of entertainment.  Though WWE wrestling is different than other legitimate wrestling sporting competitions in the United States and across the world, the similarities between Shakespeare and WWE performances in regards to entertainment value and original audience expectations allowed me to remember the performative aspect of all types of wrestling, both of today’s forms and the 16th and 17th century styles of wrestling I found throughout my research.

According to the WWE website, "WWE is watched by 14 million fans each week in the United State alone. Our diverse audience spans generations of fans. Approximately 35% of WWE's audience is female and 24% are under the age of 18."

Wrestling was a very common sport in England and France throughout the 16th and 17th century (Shakespeare’s time) and beyond.  The history of wrestling itself goes back to ancient times as seen by references to wrestling in Homer’s The Iliad and in The Bible.  How prevalent wrestling was during the time of the play is an important question for the actors of As You Like It who would play the scene differently if their characters were reacting to a brand new sport they had never seen rather than a sport that was familiar to them, as our research shows.

One of the most interesting accounts of wrestling occurred in June of 1520, when Henry VIII, King of England, and Francis I met in Calais, France to renew peace and friendship among their nations.  An excellent account of this event comes to us from the 19th century historian Francois Guizot, author of a 31 volume account of the History of France. This included a match between the Cornish wrestlers of Henry VIII and the Breton wrestlers of Francis I, with England’s wrestlers emerging victorious.  Henry VIII and Francis I also took part in the wrestling, as recounted by Robert de la Marck, a close friend of Francis I:

Then began the jousts, which lasted a week, and were wondrous fine, both a-foot and a-horseback. After all these pastimes the King of France and the King of England retired to a pavilion, where they drank together. And there the King of England took the King of France by the collar, and said to him, ‘Brother, I should like to wrestle with you,’ and gave him a feint or two; and the King of France, who is a mighty good wrestler, gave him a turn and threw him on the ground. And the King of England would have had yet another trial; but all that was broken off, and it was time to go to supper. After this they had yet three or four jousts and banquets, and then they took leave of one another [on the 24th of June, 1520], with the greatest possible peace between the princes and princesses. That done, the King of England returned to Guines, and the King of France to France; and it was not without giving great gifts at parting, one to another.” [Memoires de Fleuranges, pp. 349-363.]

M. Guizot, History of France Vol. IV, 1883

Richard Carew was an historian of Cornwall who published Survey of Cornwall in 1600.  His account of wrestling shows that not only were kings and royalty partaking in wrestling during Shakespeare’s time but country gentlemen and those of the lower classes also took part in the sport.  Below he explains some of the mechanics of Cornish wrestling (also note his description of wrestling as ‘play’).

Wrastling is as full of manlinesse; more delightfull, and lesse dangerous. [...] For performing this play, the beholders cast themselues in a ring, which they call, Making a place: into the middle space whereof, the two champion wrastlers step forth, stripped into their dublets and hosen, and vntrussed, that they may so the better commaund the vse of their lymmes, and first shaking hands in token of friendship, they fall presently to the effects of anger: for each, striueth how to take hold of other, with his best aduantage, and to beare his aduerse party downe.

-Richard Carew, The Survey of Cornwall, 1600

From these sources and others we see that wrestling was a very common pastime for the English and French men and women of Shakespeare’s time, whether as practitioners or spectators.  In addition to displaying skill and strength of the competitors, wrestling served as another form of entertainment for the men and women of Shakespeare’s time, just like the plays that Shakespeare wrote to keep his audiences entertained.  Did Shakespeare’s plays serve the same entertainment factor for his 16th and 17th century audiences as the WWE wrestling matches of today?  Indeed they show some similarities in their original purpose and in their character types, but thankfully for us there is no real blood or concussions on our Shakespearian stage.

Strike Up, Pipers!

July 9th, 2013 by Amanda

The 2013 Summer season of the Plimoth Players has begun and a lot of wonderful things are happening!  The actors arrived on July 1st and jumped right into rehearsals for Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It. With a five person cast for these plays that typically showcase 15-20 characters in each, it takes a lot of work to decide which characters to keep, which to cut, and which lines can be given to more primary characters.  And once the play has been cut down to accommodate a cast of five, the casting process itself must begin.  For example, think of these challenges our director, Annie Arthur, had to face when casting Much Ado About Nothing:  If Actor B plays Claudio, can he also play Beatrice?  Do we have any actors available to play the “extra females” the script calls for in Act 5, Scene 4?  How will Actor A exit as Don John in Act 1 Scene 3 and immediately enter as Hero in Act 2 Scene 1?

Director Annie Arthur rehearses Much Ado About Nothing with (L-R) Michael, Adam, Seth, Thomas, and Lamar in our first week of rehearsals.

The directors, prior to the arrival of the actors, do their best to work out all of these details, but even with ample planning there are always things that need to be adjusted.  There will inevitably be problems you cannot visualize or anticipate until you have actual bodies onstage speaking lines and entering and exiting.  In our first week of rehearsal there have been numerous changes—not just the cutting of lines or extraneous characters, but also the reassignment of major characters.  We are fortunate to have flexible and willing actors who can handle these quick changes while still working on memorizing lines, developing character relationships with one another, and learning blocking.  And now, at the start of our second week, and thanks to the hard work of the actors and directors during week one, we have casting and script changes solidified.  With this most important step taken care of, we are well on our way to having two beautiful and entertaining plays that we can’t wait for you to see!

Seth, Adam, and Thomas rehearse a scene from As You Like It, directed by Lamar Legend.



Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare: A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying the Works of Shakespeare

August 2nd, 2012 by michael

The Plimoth Players work from a 17th century historical context, and Shakespeare’s text to tell a story. Isaac Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare proves to be a faithful and insightful guide for just this purpose. He cites specific examples from the text of Shakespeare’s plays, illuminates the historical setting, which in the case of Hamlet, is medieval Denmark, brings in the 17th century understanding of these events, and weaves these threads together in a flowing and entertaining fashion. As director of Hamlet, I found his guide an invaluable resource. As a reader, I found Asimov’s guide clarify Shakespeare’s work, and deepen my appreciation of it. Look for it at your local Library, or online.

Michael Kaup

Bravo! Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew off to a great season start!

July 13th, 2012 by admin

This past Wednesday night, the Summer Shakespeare Series began with Hamlet! Last night, our members and special guests gathered in our courtyard to mingle with the lord of the manor and the cast members of  The Taming of the Shrew. We would like to thank everyone that came to show their support for the Plimoth Players. Our performing arts programming would not be possible without our members, donors, patrons and our sponsors!

With sincere gratitude to our Directors Circle level donors…

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen and Andrea Brodeur

Mr. Richard Pickering

Mr. and Mrs. Nick and Joanne Nikitas of Plymouth Bay Inn & Suites


Also thank you to our Patrons

Ms. Sheri Angrick
Mr. and Mrs. Rowland Browder
Ms. Christine Carney and Family
Ms. Ellie Donovan
Ms. Lynn Feingold
Ms. Susan Gillespie
Ms. Kathryn S. LaPrad
Ms. Susan Loucks and Mr. Kyle Banks
Mr. James Ragona
Mrs. Mary Bartlett-Reynolds
Ms. Courtney Roy-Branigan
Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Serkey
Dr. James M. Weiss
Mr. and Mrs. Roger E. White


A huge thank you to our Business Sponsors

Elite Theater

Patrizia’s Italy Tratoria

Plymouth Bay Inn & Suites

Setting the Space

WATD-FM 95.9

Yankee Magazine


Be sure to hop on over to our Facebook, become a friend, and check out our photo gallery from the evening!

Click here to check it out!

Meet the Artistic and Managing Director: Michael Kaup

June 29th, 2012 by admin

Meet the Director: Rebecca Hengstenberg

June 29th, 2012 by admin

Meet the Actor: Brandon Ghislain

June 28th, 2012 by admin

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Plimoth Plantation is a not-for-profit 501 (c)3 organization, supported by admissions, grants, members, volunteers, and generous contributors.