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Arts & Culture

Shakespeare on the Green takes it outside

By
Contributing Writer
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shakespeare meets the outdoors this weekend as Shakespeare on the Green, a student group that puts on outdoor performances of Shakespearean plays, performs two of his classic works, “As You Like It” and “Hamlet.”

Kate Doyle ’12, director of “As You Like It,” described performing Shakespeare on the campus green as a “nice, fresh, different way to do things” and as a “whole different style of performance.”

The actors in “As You Like It” maximize their use of the open space of Lincoln Field, somersaulting and wrestling across the green. The audience sits at the bottom of the hill, facing Sayles Hall, which creates a two-level stage on the hill. The actors take full advantage of the sloping setup, running up and down the hill and hanging from trees.

Due to the limited number of cast members, some actors take on multiple roles, which illuminates the versatility of the actors involved and fosters an intimate setting between the actors and the audience.

“The play lends itself well to a ’60s theme,” said Doyle. The actors’ costumes are all ’60s inspired, including colorful prints and floral dresses. Various Beatles songs played during set transitions and scene introductions add to the ’60s mood.

The actors play off of each other quite well, creating a light, fun and enjoyable atmosphere for the audience. There are many comedic moments throughout the play that are well represented by the actors’ interactions with one another.

Like “As You Like It,” and most Shakespearean plays, “Hamlet” has constantly been recreated and reinterpreted by actors and audiences alike.

Margaret Maurer ’13, who is directing the Shakespeare on the Green production, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald, “One of the major goals that we had with ‘Hamlet’ was to revitalize it, to make it into a play that everyone — no matter what their previous exposure, if any, to the play — could see as though for the first time.”

The Hamlet actors and the audience meet at the Van Wickle Gates and proceed to various green spaces around campus.

Rather than utilizing one set space as the stage, Maurer wrote, “The play moves during the performance to a different location every night, so even night to night the play is a completely unique experience.”

Shakespeare on the Green’s productions provide the audience with a fresh look at two of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.

“That’s what theater should be,” Doyle said. “Theater for fun.”

Shakespeare on the Green is running April 16–19 at 8 p.m. “As You Like It” will run on Sat., April 17, at 3 p.m. 10 p.m.

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