Saturday, July 19, 2008

Shakespeare in the Park in Greenport

I'm not in Montreal these weeks -- hence the lack of posts on Montreal's current festivals, art events, and happenings. But, one does not cease to be a culture junkie just because one has left the city. Here, on the eastern end of Long Island, I managed to catch art as local as it gets: Shakespeare in the Park in Greenport.

Shakespeare's comedies have never been my favorites. I prefer your standard Hamlet, MacBeth, Julius Caesar type stuff. But, summer theater groups seem to prefer the light hearted and zany comedies to match the levity of an outdoor, sunset performance. And, indeed, watching Shakespeare in the park is always an enjoyable thing to do on a summer evening, provided one has enough bugspray, a bit of potage, and a nice blanket to sit on.

The Greenport crew put on a Comedy of Errors, in which mistaken identity of long separated twins leads to considerable confusion in the town of Ephesus. In order to reduce the distance between the bard and the plebs of today, updates included a setting in what appeared to be the 1920s, a few musical numbers, and a very witty computer screen projection in the back reminiscent of B&W films sans dialogue.

My parents didn't last the show nor did they follow the plot. My father retreated to starbucks and my mother fell asleep. I thought it was a tour de force of locals and a rolicking good time. While glitches, such as microphones that didn't work or the occasional musical number that wouldn't make it to the gong show, were apparent, overall the entire production was well acted and well executed. The physical comedy was coreographed beautifully, the acting excellent by the principals, and general fun communicated to all. Shakespeare can be very distant from a modern, average audience, and I think this troupe did a fine job bringing it to the masses of Greenport.

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