Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Shakespeare ... in the park and elsewhere

In preparation for moving, am going through myriad boxes o' stuff, for filing and culling and better organizing.  One of the articles I came across was from last summer, about DC's Shakespeare Theater and its seeking of a new artistic director ("Alas, poor Shakespeare," Washington Post).

The article discusses how audience numbers are down for classic theater. Even at outdoor festivals. Among others the article mentioned the Stratford (Ontario) Festival and the Utah Theater Festival.  It didn't discuss the various Public Theater programs in Central Park in New York City.

Maybe the issue is aiming to reach new audiences in different ways.

It reminded me of a few months back, we happened to catch a documentary on one of the Maryland Public Television secondary channels--they mostly run the DIY public television Create Network on this particular channel during the day and at night, programs range from repeats of regular programs ("Time Shifting" from the main channel) and documentaries that they might be capturing from the public television World Channel, which unfortunately no PBS station in the area distributes.

Anyway, the documentary, "Bard in the Backcountry," was produced by Montana PBS and is about a fascinating program in Montana, based at Montana State University in Bozeman, "Montana Shakespeare in the Parks," which is a traveling program putting on various Shakespeare plays in mostly small towns mostly in Montana, although they dip into some venues in Idaho, North Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming as well.

-- full video, via PBS

After a run of performances in Bozeman, they are on the road for just over two full months straight, performing every day!--doing everything, driving between shows, setting up, breaking down, maintaining costumes, etc.

Outside of the big productions in New York City's Central Park, and similarly concerts in urban parks (e.g., years ago went to a cool flamenco concert in Park La Fontaine in Montreal and it was cool to picnic while listening), I was thinking after seeing the documentary about how cool it would be to do this kind of program in a city park system, like DC.

Seattle Shakespeare Company photo.

Apparently, the Seattle Shakespeare Company does something similar in the Puget Sound, although it's a pretty tough schedule they aren't traveling nearly as far as the Montana project, and the Chicago Shakespeare Company does this too, but mostly only in Chicago.

I'm sure there are others.

And such public performance programs wouldn't need to be limited to Shakespeare necessarily.

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At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Norm Forsythe said...

I can't help but feel like these actors don't get paid much if at all, to perform in a park like that. I am sure that each one loves it though. I wish I had a passion that I was that into. Good for them!

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Yep. In the documentary they didn't talk about the $. They did talk about how bad they wanted to do it. A few had auditioned previously and not gotten the gig. It seemed as if a lot of the actors were out of Chicago.

You've got to watch the documentary. It's awesome.

My partner has relatives out that way and we'll try to get to a performance within the next couple years.

We shared the info with a friend who was visiting who is from MT and goes back to visit family, and she didn't even know about the program. I DK if Suzanne's relatives in Billings have ever gone...

At 5:11 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

Moving, divorce, death -- 3 hardest things in life.

Didn't say that at the time, but that salt lake neighborhood looked very nice.

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

From a historic preservation standpoint, SLC has some amazing neighborhoods, at least from the exterior. The problem is, like here, a lot of the houses ended up getting "flawed up" on the inside. E.g., our bungalow in NW is pretty much intact, with the exception of something that was done in the living room, probably in the 1960s, maybe in response to some water damage. The only "bad thing" is that the standard back in the day was to paint the trim in the public rooms, and leave it unpainted in the private rooms. So the bedrooms have amazing wood trim and doors. ANd some windows were replaced probably in the 1980s. Some not all.

Anyway, judging by real estate sales sites, it's a mix with the houses in SLC. Most are redone badly. Some are pretty much good, some amazing, with the exception usually of an overly redone kitchen. But I saw some terrible s***, weird tile in the kitchen, etc. But chances are good something can be found.

I guess it just makes the point that we were really lucky here. Primarily because the house we bought was from the second owner basically (first owner then his child lived there for awhile), second owner was mother and daughter, daughter was a young adult then, and in her 90s when she died. So we are basically the third owners.

We finally got a new stove a couple months ago, because the door hinges went on the 1930s stove, and it would cost $1000+ to fix because it needs to be rebuilt because it's not modular, is likely full of asbestos, etc. But we still have it for later fixing.

… but I hate to admit the new one is pretty decent. Insulated. Heats pretty fast. Has a self-cleaning phase for the oven, etc.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger sk said...

Hi i like your post realy i have read first time Thanks for sharing keep up the good work.



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