Shakespeare in the Park in Aspen concludes with scholars’ talk |

Shakespeare in the Park in Aspen concludes with scholars’ talk

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times
The final showing of Shakespeare in the Park’s “Romeo & Juliet” will be followed by a talk with Shakespearean scholars Carol and Ken Adelman. The talk will be followed by a benefit for the Hudson Reed Ensemble.
Courtesy photo |

If you go ...

What: “Romeo & Juliet”

When: Pre-show talk at 5:30 p.m. today followed by 6 p.m. performance and 8 p.m. benefit

Where: Galena Plaza

The final showing of Shakespeare in the Park’s “Romeo & Juliet” will be preceded by a talk with two Shakespearean scholars.

Carol Adelman and her husband, Ken, an American diplomat who served under the Gerald Ford administration, will give the talk, which begins at 5:30 p.m. today in Galena Plaza.

For Carol Adelman, Shakespeare, who has remained a drama icon for 400 years, has survived for so long because of his insight and ability to tell a great story.

“Everyone loves a great story, and his stories are the ones, to this day, we base our modern film and theater on,” Carol said.

The Adelmans’ talk will include a Q-and-A session. Carol, who has a doctorate in public health and a master’s degree in foreign service, directed theater in high school and college. When she met Ken ­— ­who has served as an American diplomat for decades, including a stint as assistant to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the ’70s — she didn’t know much about the playwright.

When they were married, Ken took her to a Shakespeare play. Following the show, she turned to Ken and said, “I’m lucky if I understood 20 percent of that.”

From there, a joint interest in the 14th-century playwright took off. After 20 years of studying and discussing Shakespeare together, they realized “we were getting more life lessons and business lessons from Shakespeare than we were from all of the training courses and classes we were having in our professional lives. And that’s when we decided to start our company (Movers and Shakespeares).”

Through Shakespeare’s plays, the Adelmans instruct business schools and corporations on leadership, ethics and business management. They also travel around the country, visiting various Shakespeare festivals and performances.

When asked how Shakespeare has helped him serve his country, Ken pointed to the St. Crispin’s Day speech from “Henry V.”

“Shakespeare tells you that being part of a mission and a higher cause is among the most satisfying things a person can do,” Ken said.

He added that Shakespeare performances in Aspen are different because of how “personal and professional it is.”

Carol Adelman described Kent Reed, who cofounded the Hudson Reed Ensemble, as a hero for Aspen. With a thin budget, she said, he is carrying out the Shakespearean tradition of the West. According to Carol, in 1830, there wasn’t a pioneer hut that didn’t have a copy of the Bible and a copy of a Shakespearean play or sonnet. Western performances of Shakespeare back then didn’t include all five acts, only a few important scenes from a play — just like Reed’s Shakespeare in the Park.

“They would do it out in the open, and it would be for the community,” Carol said. “It was minimum props but with great passion, and so that’s what we love about Kent Reed’s Shakespeare.”

Following today’s performance, which takes place at 6 p.m. in Galena Plaza, there will be an 8 p.m. benefit party for the Hudson Reed Ensemble at 501 W. Smuggler St. The party is $60 (tax-deductible) and helps support Shakespeare in the Park.

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