Saturday, April 18, 2015

Shakespeare un-birthday 2015

Pam Verlone and Rosey Hunter, Beau's Grillery April 18, 2015

Oberons met today for our annual April gathering when we traditionally celebrate Shakespeare's un-birthday. We shared lunch at the remodeled Beau's Grillery -- formerly Beau Jacks -- at Maple and Telegraph in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Celebrants included, chairperson Richard Joyrich MD, Mara Radzvickas, Linda Theil, Barbara Burris, Pam Verlone, Rosey Hunter and Robin Browne. We missed Sharon Hunter who had planned to join us but was unable to attend.

Oberon chairperson Richard Joyrich MD, Mara Radzvickas, Linda Theil and Barbara Burris at Beau's Grillery

Joyrich and Verlone reported on attending the film version of King John produced for the Stratford Festival HD series and distributed by Fathom Events at the Livonia AMC multiplex on April 8, 2015 -- see "Stratford Festival HD distributed nationwide by Fathom". Pam and Richard were were joined at the film by Oberoner Ray Perez and friends. At our luncheon, several members made plans to attend the Stratford Festival HD production of Antony and Cleopatra to be broadcast May 21, 2015.

We hope to schedule this year's Oberon meetings on Saturday afternoons at the Bloomfield Township Public Library, 1099 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Twp., Michigan. We will announce the times as soon as they are scheduled. Since the library is near today's meeting, we may adjourn to Beau's in the future.

 Bar at renovated Beau's Grillery (formerly Beau Jack's) at Maple & Telegraph

Rosey Hunter and Robin Browne at Beau's Grillery, April 18. 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Oberons honor George Thomas Hunter

George Thomas Hunter (1923-2015)

On February 22, 2015, Oberon members honored the memory of our friend and colleague George Thomas Hunter who passed away at the age of 91 on February 3, 2015. 

Richard Joyrich, Mara Radzvickas, Pam Verlone, Barbara Burris, Linda Theil, and George's niece-in-law Rosey Hunter attended his memorial service at the Birmingham Unitarian Church of Bloomfield Hills where George and his wife Sharon have been long-time members.

The Reverend Dr. Kathy Hurt presided over the service, and the Hunter's daughter Linda Hunter, son Chris Hunter, and nephew Jon Hunter eulogized our friend. Oberon chair Richard Joyrich expressed our loss and sympathy during the sharing portion of the memorial. 

Before he passed away, George requested that those in attendance sing the song "Smiles"  at his memorial. Linda Hunter and her husband and brother sang the verses and we all joined in on the chorus:
There are smiles that make us happy,There are smiles that make us blue,There are smiles that steal away the teardrops,As the sunbeams steal away the dew.There are smiles that have a tender meaning, That the eyes of love alone may see,And the smiles that fill my life with sunshineAre the smiles that you give to me.
by Lee Roberts and Will Callahan, 1917

Friday, February 6, 2015

Stratford Festival HD distributed nation-wide by Fathom

Richard Joyrich reported that a series of high-definition films were made of three of last season's Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada productions and will be distributed as the Stratford Festival HD series by Fathom Events. The first film, King Lear with Colm Feore, will be shown oat Commerce Township theater, AMC Livonia 20 theater, and Quality 16 in Ann Arbor.

The next production, King John with Tom McCamus and Seanna McKenna, will be shown on Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at the same theaters (although the theater in Ann Arbor might be showing it on Thursday, April 9 instead).

The final production, Antony and Cleopatra with Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna Mcintosh, will be Thursday, May 21 at the same theaters.

Tickets are $18, with some variation possible.

These productions will be distributed nationwide in theaters that show other Fathom events -- such as the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series. For more information, see

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

George Hunter passed away February 3, 2015

George Hunter, 91, enjoys the Oberon holiday gathering in December, 2014 
at Rosey Hunter's house in West Bloomfield, MI.

Oberon stalwart George Thomas Hunter passed away yesterday at the Henry Ford Hospice in West Bloomfield, Michigan at the age of 91. George attended Oberon gatherings faithfully with his wife Sharon Hunter, to whom we extend our heartfelt condolences. Their daughter Linda said on the Caring Bridge website yesterday:
. . . His final hours were spent with his family. Even though he was not responsive, we talked, sang, read poetry and even read an article about Neanderthals from Scientific American (his kind of thing). 
We Oberon members also grieve with George's niece-by-marriage Rosey Hunter, who told Oberon members that George had not been feeling well after the holidays and was subsequently diagnosed with cancer. 

Rosey said, "Thank you again for your caring comments. Uncle Tom (George Hunter) was very special to my Tommy (the late Oberon chair R. Thomas Hunter, PhD). He (George) introduced him (R. Thomas Hunter) to the world of literature."

The family will schedule a memorial service, and announce the date on the Caring Bridge site. (Please see UPDATE below.)

Oberon chair Richard Joyrich shared Claudius' insight in Shakespeare's Hamlet:

"When sorrows come, they come not single spies,

 But in battalions!"
            Hamlet, Act IV, scene 5

UPDATE 02/12/15:
A memorial service for George Thomas Hunter will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 22, 2015 at the Birmingham Unitarian Church38651 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Oberons meet at Rosey Hunter's for annual holiday gathering

Rosey Hunter, Pam Varilone and Sharon Hunter at Oberon holiday gathering 2014

by Linda Theil

Rosey Hunter welcomed the Oberon group to her home on Saturday December 6, 2014 for a holiday feast of companionship and good will. Oberon co-founder Barbara Burris joined us in our first gathering since the recent loss of her husband, Oberon friend and colleague Ron Halstead. George and Sharon Hunter, Pam Varilone, Richard Joyrich, Rey Perez, Mara Radzvickas, Linda Theil, Rob Stefanovich, and Robin Browne also attended. Rey Perez took the photos shown here. We all extend holiday greetings and wish joy to Oberon friends and family, far and near.
Barbara Burris at Oberon holiday gathering, 2014

Pam Varilone, Robin Browne, George Hunter and Mara Radzvickas at Oberon holiday gathering 2014

Richard Joyrich and Linda Theil at Oberon holiday gathering 2014

Mara Radzvickas at Oberon holiday gathering 2014

Oberon photographer Rey Perez and Barbara Burris at Oberon holiday gathering 2014. Photo by Rosey Hunter

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Robin Browne spoke at Ron Halstead's memorial service

Ron Halstead at Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ontario October 4, 2014

by Linda Theil

At Ron Halstead's (1940-2014) memorial service on November 22, 2014, Oberon member Robin Browne spoke of our beloved friend at William Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, Royal Oak, Michigan where mourners gathered to honor Ron, and comfort his wife of 47 years, Oberon co-founder Barbara Ann Burris.

Oberons also attending included George and Sharon Hunter, Rosie Hunter, Richard Joyrich, Rey Perez, Linda Theil, Pam Verlone, and Mara Radzvickas.

Robin Browne said:
An article in The Eccentric pinpoints the date I first met Barbara Burris and Ron Halstead: Wednesday 18 October 2000. We met at the Baldwin Library in Birmingham, Michigan, following a wonderful lecture given by a researcher from Northern England, Derran Charlton. 
I quote from the newspaper which I have kept these past fourteen years: ‘The retired coalminer, Mr. Charlton, was sipping tea at the Royal Oak home of Barbara Burris, a member of the local chapter of The Shakespeare Oxford Society’, subsequently to be called the Oberon Chapter. The following day I joined Barbara, Ron and Derran at a nearby coffee house where we enthusiastically discussed our common interest with the Shakespeare authorship debate, something I had pursued since the mid-1960s. I immediately warmed to Ron’s gentle nature, his knowledge on the subject, and his deep passion for research.
The Oberon group has met nearly every month since my introduction to Ron and Barbara. Over the years we have shared many enjoyable hours together, at meetings Ron would often enthrall us with his research and original ideas, at book shops we would hunt out new publications together and occasionally share moments at his home which was only a stone’s throw from where my father-in-law lived. 
Whoever wrote the Shakespeare plays -- be it Francis Bacon, Edward De Vere, Marlow or Spencer -- was of an exceptional mind. For the plays reflect great learning, the ancient classics, history, philosophy, language, the Bible and an understanding of the law. The author or authors of this great collection of plays were incredibly knowledgeable and displayed a notable sense of humor. 
Had Ron Halstead lived four hundred years ago he would have been at one with the author(s). He had all the same attributes, a brilliant mind, knowledge of the classics, well read, a student of the Bible and someone who smiled, laughed and had a wonderful sense of humor.
I shall always remember him as a friend bursting with knowledge and passionate about so many different interests, the kind of person you meet one or twice in a lifetime.
Fond wishes and happy memories.
We have created an Oberon page in Ron Halstead's memory and invite readers to please write their thoughts about our friend there so that your words will be easily accessible to all who wish to read at 

Or you may read and comment on the memorial page by clicking on the title "In memoriam Ronald D. Halstead" in the masthead of this page.

Thank you.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Very Sad News-The Passing of Ronald Halstead

Posted by Richard Joyrich

I am quite saddened to have to report the sudden passing of our dear friend Ronald Halstead last Friday (November 7, 2014). Ron has been a long-standing member of the Oberon group and will be sorely missed. 

There will be a memorial service for Ron at William Sullivan and Son Funeral Home at 705 W 11 Mile Road in Royal Oak (east of Woodward and west of Main St) at 3-5 PM.

Here is a link to the obituary and other information on the funeral home website:

We, at Oberon, will be preparing a special memorial page on this blog in the near future with more details about Ron's many contributions to Oberon and to the wider Shakespeare Authorship community. We will welcome any personal comments or remembrances of Ron at that time.

In the meantime, please join me in wishing the best to Ron's wife Barbara Burris and Ron's entire family and large group of friends in this time of sorrow.

Monday, November 3, 2014

David Montee enlightens young Shakespeareans

by Linda Theil

David Montee, author of Translating Shakespeare

David Montee, PhD has distilled 30 years of teaching "Acting Shakespeare" at Interlochen Center for the Arts into Translating Shakespeare: a Guide for Young Actors published in August 2014 by theater book publishers Smith & Kraus.

Interlochen is the venerable and prestigious arts center near Traverse City, Michigan that is noted for its full-time education of talented youth. Last month, Montee gave a reading and presentation of his new book on the Interlochen campus, and he will make a presentation from 3-5 p.m. on November 22 at Horizon Books, 243 E. Front Street in Traverse City.

Oberons may remember Montee as Shylock in an Interlochen production of Merchant of Venice reviewed by our late chairperson, Tom Hunter in July, 2011. Hunter said:
His performance not only avoided the clown Jew stereotype, but was done with an ideal mix of understatement and intensity which accurately showed Shylock’s descent into tragedy. I have no idea if this was a conscious choice by Mr. Montee, but conscious or not, the result was the Shylock which I believe most closely achieved Shakespeare’s intentions of all of those I have witnessed in many other recent productions.
Montee shares this knowledge and depth of insight into acting Shakespeare's characters in Translating Shakespeare. His publisher says:
Translating Shakespeare seeks to make the actor’s preparatory work on the Bard’s plays both stimulating and fun by de-mystifying the experience. It offers step-by-step explanations of the fundamental processes involved in creative preparation: comparing edited texts, analyzing verse rhythms, identifying antitheses, and most importantly, helping the actor to find his or her own personal key to unlock the plays’ contexts and circumstances in an inspiring way. Offering many specific examples from the plays in each chapter to illustrate the topics covered, the book concludes with detailed approaches to six Shakespearean scenes, applying all of the work covered in earlier chapters to a practical rehearsal approach.
After a 2011-12 sabbatical that he spent in part writing Translating Shakespeare, Montee is back in the classroom at Interlochen where he spoke to your Oberon reporter about his work, his book, and his view of the Shakespeare authorship question:

Oberon: Do you care to say a word about Interlochen and your work there?
Montee: I've been at Interlochen for 27 years, as a teacher, director, administrator, and -- occasionally -- an actor. It's been the center of my creative life for many, many years, and I've been fortunate to have had the chance to teach and work with an incredible number of students who have gone on to make their talented presence felt in professional and educational theatre, in films and TV, and in all other aspects of life. It's been an amazing artistic journey for me.

Oberon: Does Interlochen have an annual Shakespeare festival?
Montee: Yes it does.  As a member of Actors' Equity, I've acted in three shows in the last several years, playing Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Polonius in Hamlet, and Malvolio in Twelfth Night. This coming summer I've been asked to do Jaques in As You Like It.

Oberon: When did you write Translating Shakespeare? Would you tell us about your process?
Montee: I was granted a full year sabbatical from Interlochen during the academic year 2011-12. I was stepping down from my 21-year position of Director of Theatre, during which I was responsible for the leadership of all Academy and Camp theater programs. During that sabbatical year, I travelled, did some professional acting, some guest teaching at other venues -- and wrote the first draft of this book. The book was intended to expand and elaborate on the Acting Shakespeare class that I have taught every year at Interlochen for the nearly 30 years I have been associated with the institution. It follows the basic outline and approach of that class, but covers all the subjects in much more depth. It attempts to help the young actor to understand the techniques of verse analysis, marry the modern Stanislavskian acting approach to the particular demands of heightened language, and -- most importantly -- help them "translate" Shakespeare's characters and situations into personal dramatic contexts that are meaningful in their everyday lives. The last of the book's eight chapters deals with moment by moment analyses of six Shakespearean scenes, using all of the lessons of the earlier sections: scenes from Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, and Richard III.

Oberon: Why did you decide to write Translating Shakespeare, and what do you hope will be its benefit to readers?
Montee: I've been wanting to have the time to write the book for the past decade, but the sabbatical finally gave me the freedom I needed. It is primarily intended to help young actors get over their intimidation over performing Shakespeare by giving them the knowledge they need to find it exciting and inspiring. I also hope that folks who are non-actors -- but interested in finding out more about the Bard -- will find it interesting and informative as well. All in all, it's a way to honor all of the students who have worked with me in class and in the production of over half the Shakespeare canon on stage -- and all that they have taught me over the years.

Oberon: As you know, our readers are interested in the Shakespeare authorship question. Is the question of Shakespeare's identity important to you?
Montee: Like many others, I'm fascinated to read the various books and treatises on the authorship question. I believe that just reading all the theories illuminates possible interpretations of the plays in fascinating ways. If nothing else, they teach me more and more about the historical and social settings that gave birth to the Elizabethan, Jacobean and Carolinean theatre in general, and Shakespeare's works in particular.

Oberon: Are you interested in Shakespeare's identity?
Montee: I am, but am pretty much resigned to the idea that it will undoubtedly remain an unresolved question, failing some hidden document being uncovered somewhere.  And I actually kind of like the mystery!

Oberon: Have you studied the issue?
Montee: I have, and have read some fascinating books on it. Besides the slew of Oxford books that have been so popular of late, I was particularly taken with the recent books by Sabrina Feldman, especially The Apocryphal William Shakespeare, Book One. Although I'm not sure I'm ready to buy her candidate (as revealed in Book Two, of which she's kindly sent me an advance manuscript for my thoughts), I think her ideas in Book One are revelatory, and tell us interesting things about the Elizabethan processes of developing plays for the theater of the time. I recommend them as very entertaining and informative reading.

Oberon: Are your students interested in the authorship question?
Montee: They are in a vague way. Happily, I think (as actors) they're much more interested in how the scripts work on stage -- whomever they were authored by!

Oberon: Does the identity of the author have meaning and usefulness to teachers and students who use your book?
Montee: I don't really think so, not directly anyway. For actors and directors, the plays are blueprints for performances; and the book is aimed at helping actors, both young and old, in interpreting those blueprints in the most theatrically effective manner possible.

David Montee is available for readings and presentations of his new book, Translating Shakespeare: a Guide for Young Actors and may be reached at <>.

Resources: 10/06/12 10/12/14

Friday, October 17, 2014

Newton and Delahoyde offer School of Night

SOF webmaster and media consultant Jennifer Newton sent information about an online class lead by Michael Delahoyde to those who follow her The Shakespeare Underground website. Oberon chair Richard Joyrich said, "This 3-part online lecture series will be very good. For those who haven't yet seen him, Professor Delahoyde is an extremely entertaining and knowledgeable speaker. I have already registered for this course. It is completely free. All you have to do is provide your email address so you can get the details on how to access the webcasts."

Newton said:
I want to let you know of an upcoming event, School of Night -- an interactive, online Shakespeare authorship course featuring Professor Michael Delahoyde, hosted by The Shakespeare Underground. This three-part series will take place Thursday evenings in November: 11/6, 11/13, and 11/20. 
The Shakespeare Hoax
November 6
9:00pm EST / 6:00 pm PST

“This well-painted piece”: Renaissance Art in The Rape of Lucrece
November 13
9:00pm EST / 6:00 pm PST

The Winter’s Tale: a Tudor Redemption Story
November 20
9:00pm EST / 6:00 pm PST

These live video webcasts will feature real-time discussion via chat and a Q&A session in which participants with webcams can appear onscreen and converse with Dr. Delahoyde and the group. 

The course is free and open to all. Registration and details are here: Technical information about how to access the class and participate interactively will be sent to registrants.

The School of Night course is experimental -- a further exploration of online possibilities for communicating about the Shakespeare authorship question. If it goes well and receives a good response, we may make it an ongoing program. It would be wonderful to see you there, and I'd appreciate any feedback and suggestions you have about the experience. Please join us in November for the classes, and please spread the word!

Jennifer Newton
The Shakespeare Underground

Monday, October 6, 2014

Oberons attend "Authorship Appeal" in Stratford

by Linda Theil

Matt Wyneken enjoyed breakfast at Features restaurant on Ontario St. in downtown Stratford before 10:30 a.m. "Authorship Appeal" moot court.

A contingent of Oberons hit the road again this weekend to attend the "Authorship Appeal" moot court sponsored by the Stratford Festival in Ontario as part of its annual Forum series.

Ron Halstead stands outside the Festival Theater in Stratford, Ontario before attending the October 4, 2014 "Authorship Appeal" moot court.

Matt Wyneken, Ron Halstead and I attended the event held in the Festival Theatre on October 4 where we watched litigator Guy Pratte contend against the Stratfordian attribution of the Shakespeare canon before the Right Honorable Madam Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada.

We met-up with old friends Lynne and Michael Kositsky. Lynne Kositsky shared the news that she has two new young adult books out: With Fearful Bravery and The Plagues of Kondar. York University professor Don Rubin -- who organized the SOS/SF conference last year in Toronto -- had assisted Guy Pratte with his case against Stratford and attended the Forum event with his wife, Patricia Keeney.

Don Rubin and Lynne and Michael Kositsky greet friends in the lobby of the Festival Theatre, Stratford, Ontario before "Authorship Appeal" moot court.

After the moot court, Matt and I had lunch with Don Rubin, Patricia Keeney, the Kositsky's, Priscilla Costello, Sky Gilbert, Justin BorrowAnn Zakelj, Matthew Wynekin, Ted Alexander and Chris Pannell at Demetre's in Stratford. Ron Halstead had a ticket to see the King Lear matinee, and skipped lunch. We dined in the small private room where we Oberons have gathered during Stratford visits in the past.

Around table at Demetre's in Stratford, October 4, 2014: Priscilla Costello, Sky Gilbert, Lynne Kositsky, Michael Kositsky, Justin Borrow, Ann Zakelj, Patricia Keeney, Matt Wyneken, and Ted Alexander.

The entire "Authorship Appeal" event was streamed live over the Internet and is available on video produced by the Shakespeare Festival of Ontario, Canada.

Click on arrow above to watch "Authorship Appeal" Stratford Festival Forum event held Oct 4, 2014.

Listen to Guy Pratte's discussion of the Shakespeare authorship on the October 3, 2014 CBC radio show Ontario Morning. Podcast at 
Guy Pratte’s interview begins at mark 33:15.

Read more of my report on the "Authorship Appeal" moot court on the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship news page under the title "Rubin pleased by Stratford moot court".