GRAFTON, Mass. - The Shakespeare Club of Grafton is ready to launch its 24th year with its Oct. 8 meeting at the Brigham Hill Community Barn on Wheeler Road, North Grafton at 7:30 p.m. This is an opportunity for old friends and new to welcome enthusiastically a new season of fun and study of the Bard’s life, works and times. The club meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month as a rule, but this year the schedule includes some Sunday afternoons.
Each year the Shakespeare Club of Grafton selects three or four plays to read aloud and to study in depth. Last year’s plays included “Much Ado About Nothing,” “As You Like It,” and “The Tempest.” In addition, for good measure, the group studied a revenge play by Tom Middleton, a contemporary of Shakespeare. This year’s selections include “Titus Andronicus,” “Twelfth Night,” and “Antony and Cleopatra.”
Since plays are meant to be experienced, not just read, movie events are planned for the group’s enjoyment and discussion and are scheduled during the winter months for the third Sunday afternoon or Monday evening. Hundreds of movies have been made either based on Shakespeare’s plays or of actual performances or adaptations. It is a fertile field from which to select great material.
Additional activities include participation in Grafton Celebrates the Holidays, the first weekend in December. At this event, members dress in costume and entertain visitors at the barn. Guest speakers such as Dr. Helen Whall from Holy Cross are frequent visitors.
The highlight of the year is a costumed celebration of William Shakespeare’s birthday which in April 2012, was his 447th. The festivities included food catered by The Buggy Whip and entertainment by singer Linda Mackey, with skits performed by club members Helen and Mark Blazis, Linda Bend, and Manas Sarma. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wood of Shrewsbury were crowned King and Queen and reigned over the celebration.
In 2013, the group will celebrate Twelfth Night on Jan. 6, with a costume party including some of the traditional high jinks of the end of holiday season event. Shakespeare’s 148th will still be acknowledged at the April 22 meeting, just one day shy of the accepted April 23 day of both his birth in 1564 and his death in 1616.
At the annual business meeting held in May, officers were elected for the 2012-2013 season. They are Catherine Thornton from Uxbridge, president; Priya Ratham from Shrewsbury, vice president; Donna Coleman from Whitinsville, secretary; Randi Kelly from Hudson, archivist; Diana Sullivan from Worcester, treasurer; Peg Ferraro from North Grafton, casting director.
While the club’s name includes Grafton, membership is not restricted to that locale. To join a lively group of folks from various backgrounds who enjoy reading and discussing and sharing the Elizabethan experience, call 508-278-4517 or check out the website at GraftonShakespeare.org.