With barely nine seasons under its theatrical belt, Milwaukee Shakespeare has hung up its brocades, melted down its prop swords and left its fancy tights in a heap on the floor. The company closed its doors on Monday after its main source of funding, the Argosy Foundation, decided to pull out. Well, ain't that a shock to the cultural system?
Milwaukee Shakespeare's website explains the situation this way:
Well, yes, by all means, let's close it up just as ticket sales start gettin' good. We wouldn't wanna be perceived as accomplishing our goal of bringing in an audience, right? Fear of success, I knew ye well.
Perhaps the Argosy Foundation has stretched itself too thin over the years to weather such economic turmoil without having to snap the checkbook shut, but the company was a baby born from the mind and coffers of the foundation's president, Chris Abele. It's clear now that once the apron strings were cut, baby couldn't stand on its own because it didn't diversify its funding diet. Sad, really.
Current ticket holders for Milwaukee Shakespeare's 2008-09 season should click here to find out how they can be compensated.
To the thespians and crew of the company, I offer these words from the Bard himself:
Then let not winter's ragged hand deface
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill'd:
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
With beauty's treasure, ere it be self-kill'd.
That use is not forbidden usury,
Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That's for thyself to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee:
Then what could death do, if thou shouldst depart,
Leaving thee living in posterity?
Be not self-will'd, for thou art much too fair
To be death's conquest and make worms thine heir.