In 1988 I won an invitational competition to be the designer of the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, nicknamed “The Will Award”.
My bronze sculpture was awarded by The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC for 20 years, from 1988 to 2008. The list of honorees includes Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins, Dame Maggie Smith, Hal Holbrook, Patrick Stewart, Sam Waterson, Lynn Redgrave, Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Plummer, Kevin Kline, and Joseph Papp. I had the pleasure of attending the award ceremony every year, on Shakespeare’s birthday. Always an elaborate event, the gala was a colorful swirl of guests mingling with distinguished classical actors dressed in Elizabethan costume. As was the custom in Shakespeare’s day, when female roles were portrayed by male performers, a number of the actors in female costume were men.
Every year the gala raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the Theatre’s education and outreach programs that serve over 20,000 public school students annually.
My sculpture shows faces within faces, unfolding like leaves from a tree or peelings from an onion. It is also reminiscent of the open pages of a book. I was awarded this opportunity because the jury panel found my sculpture to be a visual expression of the ambiguity and multiple layers that mark many of Shakespeare’s characters.