Dogs of Shakespeare 2001/02

In 1592, Elizabethan England was attempting to establish a new world order. The court of Queen Elizabeth was intent on annihilating the Catholic Papal supremacy and officially institutionalizing the Protestant religion as the "Royal Faith".

  • Synopsis

    As the universe was so ordered and so regulated as manifested in the position of the stars, planets, and sun (Macrocosmos), so, as well, must the civilization of man (Microcosmos). Indeed, so too must the very internal order of the human body be so ordered. Everything, every strata of society, from gender to status, from royalty to peasant, from privilege to poverty, had a specific seat in the Elizabethan order.

    It was clearly hopeless to attempt to change one`s position in this finely calibrated wheel of life. If one did dare to do so, it was deemed a trecherous act worthy of torture and hanging. This World Order is one of the common elements in all of Shakespeare`s plans – any character that attempts to alter their given station on the “Wheel” courts disaster and embraces defeat. In this Caravan presentation, we have represented this Global Order in our Ferris Wheel of Life on the deck of the ship.

    How will we each deal with the plague forces of our era rampant in the land?

    The main architect of the Elizabethan World Order was a man named Hooker who wrote the tome: “Ecclesiastical Piety”. This book would be the main text for any student lucky enough to attend school in the late 16th century, as did Shakespeare. This Two-Foot Hooker`s philosophy is the cornerstone of all Shakespeare`s plays. In a wonderful twist of irony and history our “Main Dog” is named “Hooker”. It would certainly make this “two-foot” Hooker howl in his grave if he overheard the most decidedly “revolutionary words” of Hooker the dog being uttered in his name!

    In 1592, the real world of Elizabethan England was one of the black plague, abuse, hunger, oppresion, and censorship; a world populated with the powerless and impoverished. It was a world that we seldom experience in the literature of the times. It is a world that bears a striking metaphorical resemblance to our own society. We are experiencing a world order that is dictated by an oligarchy of wealth and power; a world that is populated by impoverished nations and powerless individuals, a world that is, once again, turning the state into a pulpit for religion. Like the dogs in the theatrical event you are about to experience, can we continue to howl at the injustice we perceive, continue to howl at the hunger for autonomy, continue to howl in celebration of the passions of creativity? When faced down by the ubiquitous forces of contemporary oppresion – be it poverty of spirit, gluttony of consumption, annihilation of tolerance, or destruction of habitats, will we be strapped to the wheel of life or will we lift off from the axle?

  • Comments

    “This performance is a wild mix of Elizabethan pageantry, Greek choral drama, Big Top Trapeze, Medieval passion play and modern guerilla theatre. If good art generates discussion and controversy, this is it!”
    The Muskegon Chronicle: August 13, 2001

    “Don’t take my word for that ‘1592: The Dogs of Shakespeare’ is a must-see event. Normally we’d have to travel to the big city stages in New York or Las Vegas to see such eye-popping physical stunts. Now this marvel is in Bay City.”
    Bay City Times: July 26, 2001

    “It was an evening to remember and a surreal world of theatre rarely seen in these parts.” Quotes for Patrons: “It was marvelous!” “Spectacular!” The barrier-breaking performance incorporated the good, the bad and the bawdy with aerial arts from the ship’s mast and movement through a central carousel.” “We loved it!” “It was fantastic!” “It was awesome!”
    The Sheboygan Press: August 26, 2001

    “I was unfamiliar to the Caravan Stage prior to seeing their exciting, innovative presentation. This washeady stuff and the village should be proud to have initiated its presence. I gave them a standing ovation and I look forward to seeing then again next year.”
    James S. Garcia Esq., Saugerties NY: September, 2000

  • Photos

    Photos from 1592: The Dogs of Shakespeare tour of 2000-01.