Actor and teaching artist Stephen Collins performs interactive one-man shows and teaches workshops that introduce middle school and high school students to great writers and thinkers
This unique, interactive performance, begins with a short biographical introduction into the poet’s life. Robert Frost is greatly misunderstood. Certain people, some academics and politicians included, have tried to pigeonhole him, however the man is far more complicated than the surface indicates. This is, after all, a man who voted for Eugene Debs, one of the best known Socialists of the United States, but was vehemently opposed to Franklin Roosevelt and “The New Deal”. It is this man that is seen in his poems that are often dialectic between chaos and order. As part of the performance, an open discussion of the following poems will include:
- “A Tuft of Flowers”
- “Mending Wall”
- “After Apple Picking”
- “Acquainted with the Night”
- “Desert Places”
Target Grades: 7-12
Socrates, the Gadfly
Socrates, the Father of Philosophy, was born in Athens in 469 BC and died after drinking hemlock in 399 BC. He was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens and of impiety. In this adaptation of Plato’s Apology he defends himself against such charges. Students will learn about the “Socratic Method,” a tool in which a series of of questions is asked not only draw individual answers, but also to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand–“I cannot teach anybody anything,” Socrates said, but only make them think.” They will discover Socrates view that “an unexamined life is not worth living” and will learn about his role as a “gadfly,” to sting people and whip them into fury, all in the name of Truth.”
Target Grades: 9-12
Shakespeare – Shake-Scenes Workshop
Who had more effect on the English language than William Shakespeare? He created over 1700 common words that before him were either used in a new manner or didn’t exist at all. He did this by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, or just invented entirely new words from scratch. Stephen Collins makes Shakespeare’s words come alive for your students performing his characters and helping them navigate and speak his text.
Target Grades: 7-12
Walt Whitman, Unlaunch’d Voices
Unlaunch’d Voices opens with the elderly Whitman on the evening of his seventieth birthday. The audience is a visitor in his room as he prepares for his birthday celebration. Whitman begins to reminisce and to question his success as a man and a poet. He tells us his work has proved to be “less than a failure….” He remembers a mystical experience he had in his thirty-seventh year that inspired him to write poetry. During the telling, Whitman transforms into his young vibrant self and we begin to trace back along with him the experiences that led to the creation of Leaves Of Grass, his lifetime work. The first part of the performance explores Whitman’s preoccupation with the self and his resolve to write with “free and brave thought…” We revel with him as he celebrates his body and himself. In the second part of the performance, Whitman’s life is changed forever by the occurrence of the Civil War. It is here that he finds “… the most important work of my life…” nursing the wounded soldiers in the hospitals. Through poetry and readings of actual letters, we experience Whitman’s movement from selfishness and selflessness and his growth into a mature artist who is at peace about “himself, God and death.” Script by Michael Keamy.
Target Grades: 7-12
FOR ALL PROGRAMS
Duration: 45 minutes
Audience Limit: 300
Workshop Limit (Shake-Scenes): 30
Performance Requirements for All Programs
Single: $525 Double: $840 Triple: $1,103
Travel Fee: Based upon mileage. Calculate below.
Stephen Collins grew up in Cambridge, and received a BA in Literature from UMass Boston. He is ana ctor, lecturer and historical tour guide, who travels the country bringing great characters from literature and history to life in a style that has been described as a hybrid between lecture and performance. He currently performs eight one-man shows which have received rave reviews, and teaches six courses. For more info, visit: www.unlaunchedvoices.com.
I’m still hearing rave reviews from those that saw your stunning performance!
Ruth Yonan Iyengar – Chair, Big Arts on the Stage, Sanibel Florida
I certainly plan to take the student’s advice and invite you back to Lenox next year.
William J. Irvin, Ph.D., Lennox Memorial High School
I was simply blown away with your performance. A tour de force!
Michael Robertson, English Department, College of New Jersey
Compliments are still flying around here about your performance as Walt Whitman…. People felt you indeed did bring the great poet – and human being – to life on our museum stage that night. …Thanks again for a fine evening of theater and a chance to get to know a great American poet.
Pamela Avila Lewis, Manager of Visitor Services and Volunteers, Heritage Museum and Gardens, Sandwich, MA
Mileage Rates Note: Double the mileage calculated below to account for initial and return trips