In honor of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, you can get a crash course in The Bard’s theatrical catalog with “Shakespeare Marathon: 38 Plays in 5 Days.”
During five days in April, 38 different theater companies from across North Carolina will perform stage readings of plays including “Hamlet,” “Julius Caesar” and “As You Like It” at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Onstage props and costumes will be minimal, and admission is free.
The program will run around the clock starting at noon on Saturday, April 23, with Flat Rock Playhouse performing “Henry VI, Part 1.” The final selection, “The Two Noble Kinsmen” by Meredith College’s Stillwater Theatre Company, is scheduled to start at 3 a.m. on Thursday, April 28.
Other groups participating are Raleigh Little Theatre, Carrboro ArtsCenter, Broughton High School and UNC-Chapel Hill’s PlayMakers Repertory Company. Raleigh’s Burning Coal Theatre is the overall producer.
The marathon will fill something of a Shakespeare gap that has existed since financial difficulties shut down the annual N.C. Shakespeare Festival in 2014 after a 37-year run. The High Point-based theater company produced plays on some of the state’s smallest stages.
The Shakespeare Marathon also will be a preview of an exhibit, “First Folio! The Book That Gave us Shakespeare,” featuring a 1623 book of Shakespeare plays that is on a national tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library. It will be on display May 7-30 at the N.C. Museum of History. For details, see ncmuseumofhistory.org.