Period costumes are good for Cate Blanchett or Helen Mirren but they might not fit in a parking lot, but New York City knows how to make Shakespeare work. And this summer, “work” is what it is all about.
For 20 years, The Drilling Company, a Shakespearian production company has been bringing the Master’s works to New Yorkers –Shakespeare in the Park (ing Lot) as they call it…now for 20 years in The City.
The Drilling people see the advantages of a parking lot – a level space, a few chairs or bring your own, a free ticket, a natural way to cool off on a summer evening and a couple of pre-placed cars can be incorporated into the scenes…where a car a might pull out on cue, or actors jumping out.
This summer they are doing two plays with a social conscience – “Merry Wives of Windsor” talking about rent control…and “Coriolanus” working in the connections of hard times, unemployment, hunger, homeless and the election. They even have a huge banner proclaiming OCCUPY.
And that they do – occupy the lot with the audience up close, a couple feet from the actors, who play the play, along a paving line for direction.
I just saw “Coriolanus” the movie, and it was great – this adaptation including war, with celebrated star, Ralph Finnes, supposedly taking place in Rome, yes, life days of old, but in current times of one city at war with another. Made me think of the times when Rome was warring with the Etruscans, maybe Volterra in Shakespeare’s mind.
Shakespeare’s works stand up in any place and in any time – good for a summer eve. And they send you home with not only words connected, but with concepts to ponder. Unemployment, hunger, homelessness, the election and war, but always with Shakespeare’s inner knowing – we know because he knew.
Our time to ponder. Lets.