Director’s Corner

Emily%20BartelsWhy Bread Loaf? This summer I attended a rehearsal of Hamlet—a play I’ve taught, read, pondered, seen over a hundred times.

Stephen Berenson, as Polonius, was about to launch into the proverb-encrusted (some might say tedious) “neither a borrower nor a lender be” bit to Laertes, who was on his way out of town. But Stephen stopped in his tracks. “Why,” he asked, “since I’ve already bid goodbye to Laertes, would I start giving him all this advice now? I need a reason, a prompt, a gesture.” Stephen experimented; Brian McEleney (the director) encouraged. In the end, Polonius pulls out a wallet, dangles money in front of Laertes, and produces the speech as a power play of a father lording purse strings over his wayward son. Now I see the rupture, curiousness, and edginess of a scene I’ve known too well to know too well. One rehearsal. One instance. One answer to the Bread Loaf “why”: transformation.

Emily C. Bartels
Director, BLSE



Featured Story

Every summer, members of the Acting Ensemble are kept busy fulfilling the other side of the actors’ mission at Bread Loaf: to engage with students in the classroom by bringing words to life. Read on to find out how actors, students, and teachers all benefit from the lively exchanges that take place every day.



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