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Arts & Culture

Shakespeare In The Park... And On The River Barges, Too!

Shakespeare in the Park is back, but those expecting it to be in the Botanical Gardens should note: it's not going to be there. More on that further down. This year's production is called The Winter's Tale and Director Beth Lopes described it this way.  

“It’s a romance, is the category. It also could be called a problem play.  Mostly because there are equal parts comedy and drama.”

I had to ask “Shakespeare—aren’t they all problem plays of some kind?”  Lopes laughed.

"Yes! You could definitely see it that way. I think that with Winter’s Tale there are a lot of huge, fantastical elements, which some people view as problems. I view them as incredibly exciting.”

The Magik Theatre’s annual summertime Shakespeare production has become a norm this time every year, but this year it’ll be in a very different place than it's been the last several.

“It will be quite an adventure to have River Barges coming through as we’re doing the show, but as we view it, it’s more people to talk to” said Lopes.

Those River Barges will pass between the stage and the audience at that new location—the Arneson River Theater. Actor Randall Thompson thinks they could present interesting opportunities.

“There’s a couple of moments in the play that if it happens to coincide with the right line it’s going to be amazing.  There’s a couple of moments that if it happens at just the right time it’s going to be disastrous!”

Thompson plays Leontes, a major role in the production. And interestingly, Lopes is his real-life wife. He describes the awkward feeling of acting for her in this production.

“You have to kind of go to a place where most guys don’t like living—feeling jealous about the prospect that the love of your life is cheating on you. And the love of my life is in the same room telling me how to do it!” he laughed.

If you’re looking for details, Lopes described them here, including an enveloping event around the production.

“September 3rd through 6th is the Winter’s Tale at the Arneson and then September 4th through 6th is Renaissance on the River, which has an entire Renaissance Festival around the show, with tons of other shows and activities and vendors. It should be an amazing time.”

The Magik Theatre is responsible both for the Shakespeare in the Park Production and the Renaissance event, which will include jugglers, period costumes, food and much more.  For further details on this, go here