To be, or not to be? That is the question—
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?
Do you recognize only the first line of this soliloquy? Did you even know that was called a soliloquy? And do you care that you don't know this stuff?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, Pop Up Shakespeare is your cup of [English Breakfast] tea.
Pop Up Shakespeare, a Seven League Boots Production, is a spontaneous combustion of short Shakespearean scenes that come to life in the middle of a public space without any warning (aside from that of hashtags on social media). These fearless Hamlets, Ophelias and Guildensterns bust out Ye Old English on a Saturday afternoon in places like Union Square with a farmer's market, religious fanatics and kitten adoption tables all competing for our attention.
These "hit and quit" street style scene spurts aim to show people that Shakespeare is for everyone – groundlings and lords alike. In addition to acting out a snippet of a script together, these traveling thespians pull audience members (people on the street) into the scenes. Fun, fast and interactive, Seven League Boots' aims to draw in people who wouldn't necessarily be into the Bard of Avon at first, and get them excited and ultimately supportive of theatre, poetry and the performing arts.
Being such a viral worthy project, 7LB brought me in to design Pop Up Shakespeare's visual Identity.
Making Pop Up Shakespeare quickly understandable visually in an outdoor setting amongst a frenzy of activity drove the direction of the color, imagery and typography.
Designing with print pieces in mind was a great treat to work on. At the same time, I also kept the double tap at the front of my mind. Hot pink, lime green, beards, collars and layered textures of type come together to make business cards and fliers worthy of pockets as well as website banners and social media graphics worthy of retweets from even the most moldy rogues.
The fun continued when I joined this band of merry mischief makers for the first weekend of pop performances.
Photographing and documenting their inaugural weekend, I was so excited to be a part of the hypothetical transforming into reality.
Like the actors, I was also a bundle of nerves when it came to anticipating how people would actually react when they found themselves in the middle of a Times Square flash performance. Watching the scene unfold through my camera's viewfinder, I found myself laughing with the crowd as Romeo and Juliet gossiped and asked for advice from the circle of people gathered around.