The Drilling Company (www.drillingcompany.org) took over as producer of Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot seven years ago. [A history of Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot will be available soon on the Drilling Company website.] The troupe, founded in 1999, is also a prolific presenter of new works in its permanent home at 236 West 78th Street (one block south of the #1 train at 79th Street), where it nurtures and produces new works by emerging playwrights. The Drilling Company has developed and produced works by such well known playwrights as Will Eno, Brian Dykstra, C. Denby Swanson, Tom Strelich, Vincent Delaney, Eric Henry Sanders and Trish Harnetiaux. The company is led by Artistic Director Hamilton Clancy, who has been an actor in Coen Brothers "Burn After Reading" and Ridley Scott's " American Gangster" and recently appeared at Playwrights Horizons in "The Retributionists" by Daniel Goldfarb, directed by Leigh Silverman.
| Open: 07/29/10 Close: 08/14/10
THE DRILLING COMPANY'S SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK(ING) LOT SETS "JULIUS CAESAR" IN A MODERN SCHOOL BOARD.
Do we really govern ourselves through plurality or charisma? Staging Shakespeare's historical drama in the modern setting of a school system may shed some light.
The second and final production this summer of The Drilling Company's Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot will be Julius Caesar, directed by Hamilton Clancy (Artistic Director) July 29 to August 14. In an unusual adaptation, Shakespeare's drama about the nature of ambition and politics is set in a contemporary urban school system.
The Drilling Company's two-part Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot season also includes "Love's Labours Lost," directed by Kathy Curtis, July 8 to 24. This is the 19th consecutive year for Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot, a favorite New York summertime cultural treat that is performed free in a municipal parking lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets, Manhattan.
In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a favorite for all ages, the commoners rejoice over Caesar's triumph over Pompey while the patricians, fearing his irresistable ambition, conspire against him and enlist the noble Brutus to their cause with the manipulation of wily Cassius. After their plot is successful and Caesar is assasinated, Mark Antony incites the rabble against the conspirators with uncanny rhetorical skill, then allies with Octavius Caesar and Lepidus against Brutus and Cassius. Octavius' army prevails and Cassius and Brutus are forced to accept defeat by falling on their own swords.
In this updated version, Shakespeare's text is intact but Caesar becomes an administrative head of a school murdered by staffers and parents intent on preserving the prior system. The roles of Cassius and Mark Antony are cast with women. Director Hamilton Clancy explains, "We're trying to find small worlds where the struggles for power and authority are intense and fought with life and death vigor. We were also searching for worlds in which women share power on an equal level with men. When we look around today at the front pages of our papers, those battles are being fought over the school system and education because in America, our class wars are being fought tooth and nail in the halls of schools all over the city. Along comes one man who says to the Department of Education, give over control of all the schools to me and everything will be better."
The cast features Selene Beretta, Ivory Aquino, Mark Jeter, Brandon Riley, Bill Green, Bobby Plasencia, Brian D. Hills, Leila Okafor, Marianna Caldwell, Joann Sacco, Bill Green, Amanda C. Fuller and Jarad Benn.
Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM. Seating is on a first come first served basis, with audience members often arriving as early as 7:00 PM to secure a place. You are encouraged and welcome to bring your own chair. Once seats are gone, blankets are spread out.
For more information, visit shakespeareintheparkinglot.com.
|Love's Labor Lost
| Open: 07/08/10 Close: 07/24/10
"Love's Labours Lost" is a seemingly lighthearted battle of the sexes, played out in disguises and hidden agendas. For "Fame's sake," the young King of Navarre and his three closest friends vow to study, fast and see no women for three years, only to have their solemn oaths challenged the very next day by the arrival of the Princess of France and three beautiful companions. Ideals of scholarship and dreams of "Fame" are forgotten in the pursuit of the "ideal" woman. The ensuing courtship becomes a shuffle of suitors as the men, in disguise, woo the ladies who, warned of the charade, have disguised themselves as well. With considerable wit, the ladies beat the gents at their own game and manage to teach them a lesson or two. But before the ruses can get sorted out and love's labors can come to fruition, there's a plot twist which stops all love's "proceedings" and leaves us with...a hell of a cliffhanger.
In this updated version, royalty has been traded for celebrity as Shakespeare's original romp in the park outside the castle of Navarre turns into a Celebrity Challenge/Survivor like competition between the royalty of the Rock Music Industry, as "boy band" and "girl band" face off in a variety of media watched challenges. Considerations of love or romance are set aside while the challengers are set to compete. True to Shakespeare's text, the boys didn't know just how attracted to their female competitors they would become, which is a great setting to explore Shakespeare's themes of pride and ambition versus the affairs of the heart.
|Mutant Sex Party
| Open: 06/06/05 Close: 06/25/05
The play concerns a successful politician's relationship with a young male prostitute. Described by the directior as "a fascinating power struggle between two different kinds of prostitutes. We really watch to see who manages to buy who and for how much – not unlike our downtown market!"
| Open: 06/03/05 Close: 06/19/05
An evenings of short plays revolving around a common theme - REVENGE: who gets , who gives it and what have we got?
Featuring the plays of Brian Dykstra, C. Denby Swanson, Vincent Delaney, Sheri Graubert, Trish Harnetieux, Paul Allman, Molly Rice, Don Carter, Paul Siefken and Scott Baker.
| Open: 11/08/06 Close: 11/19/06
Nine new short plays examining "security" - who's in charge of it, who needs it the most, and how far people will go (regardless of who they hurt) to get it, with themes ranging from dramatic to the wildly satirical.
|The Frog Singer
| Open: 05/15/10 Close: 06/06/10
"The Frog Singer," conceived and written by Laura Strausfeld, is probably the first theatrical puppetry work with self-illuminating puppets made from electroluminescent wire. It is the story of a frog who is a champion jumper but aspires to be a singer instead. The production has a cast of three actor/puppeteers and live drawing projections. It is intended for children of all ages.
The puppets are constructed from electroluminescent (EL) wire and attached to battery packs. To Strausfeld's knowledge, these are the first puppets of this kind. Designers have previously used EL wire in theatrical shows, but not to make wholly constructed self-illuminating puppet characters. The Frog Singer's sets are projected drawings that are created real-time throughout the show. The aesthetic is deceptively do-it-yourself, raw and child-like, using simple drawing shapes but executed by a lot of ultra cool and new technology. Throughout the production, there is an underscore of Tango/Latin music.
The script is adapted from a story that Strausfeld wrote for her son Otto when he was five. She relates that she loved the magic of that moment in the theater when the lights go down. She also loved glow-sticks. So she imagined, what if the lights never come up and the entire show is created from glow-sticks? The concept started there. She recruited Eric Nightengale to direct. Carin Berger (www.carinberger.com), an extraordinary illustrator and children's book author (who teaches theater at Hunter and is also a performer) drew the characters. She became the narrator.
In the play, there's nothing more important to a young frog's parents than how high their frog child jumps. After all, the higher frogs can jump, the more successful they are in life. Lester is a phenomenal jumper and a great success, but he's had a dream since he was a child of doing something radically different. What should Lester do? Keep jumping...or that other thing he truly loves? The play is a lighthearted but profound allegory of how one must deal with parental and societal pressures while remaining true to one's own soul.
The show is intended for "children of all ages," but Strausfeld advises that the perfect age is probably five to eleven because the play's themes are intended for older children. But it is visually mesmerizing and will entertain a three-year-old.
The actor/puppeteers are John Heath, Joann Sacco and Claudia Orenstein. Puppet Design and live-drawing projections are by Laura Strausfeld. Character illustration is by Carin Berger. Projection Design is by Laura Strausfeld. Sound Design is by Eric Nightengale. Puppet Advisor is Claudia Orenstein.