Monday, July 18, 2016

Even more Shakespeare in the park


Two good actors as Ferdinand and Miranda - no idea what their names are.

The park in question this time is the The Westside Community Garden just around the corner at 89th between Columbus and Amsterdam. The play is THE TEMPEST, and it turns out I'd seen Shakespeare in this park before, a few years ago when I came to see my actor buddy Doug perform in a production of TWELFTH NIGHT there. Probably produced by the same company as this time, The Stag & Lion Theatre company. I didn't get a program, but I figured I'd just look up their web site to find out who the actors were - the one playing Caliban was especially good. Well the joke's on me - they don't appear to have a web site. Or a Facebook page, or anything else on the Internet except for an expired Backstage casting call for the role of Prospero.

One thing I especially liked about this production was that they made an effort at period costume rather than go the lazy route of modern-dress. Although, as with the MIDSUMMER production I saw a few weeks ago,  in which I said they should cast Puck with a female actor to address the gender imbalance, they should have cast Ariel with a female actor. And TEMPEST is even worse than MIDSUMMER for gender imbalance, in fact it might be the worst in the entire canon - exactly one female character. I think it might be the only Shakespeare play that has only one female role.

Speaking of that production of MIDSUMMER I saw, I took a walk to see my old Upper East Side neighborhood (and to meet my Fitbit daily steps goal) and ended up in Carl Schurz Park, when what should I see but the very same New York Classical Theater production that I saw in Central Park. Although it appeared that they were confined to one area of Carl Schurz, which could only improve the show without all the hiking from one location to another. I got there at the very end, with the rude mechanical performance of Pyramus and Thisbe for the court, and since I didn't stick around until that scene in Central Park, I didn't recognize the production.

But I should have known immediately who I was dealing with when, the second I aimed my cell phone at the actors on "stage" one of their photo-phobic storm troopers swooped in and told me I couldn't take pictures in this taxpayer funded "venue" they'd decided to appropriate.

I got one anyway. But still. Fuck you New York Classical Theater and Actors' Equity for this antiquated, senseless no-photography rule applied to an outdoor public park. This is bullshit.

New York Classical Theater once again feeding at the public trough while forbidding photos.

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