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A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM with Sarah Byun, Steve Park, and Louis Schatzki

Posted by on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 in 1010 blog posts, , .

Since 1988, Centennial Park has hosted the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, a free Shakespeare-in-The-Park style performance. The success of the program led to the establishment of both summer and winter shows in 2008. Besides performing Shakespeare’s works, the organization prides itself on educational opportunities. They run a program called Continuing Legal Education which approaches his works as a problem-solving opportunity. In addition, they are partners with the Nashville Public Library for the Shakespeare Allowed program. This program brings together a diverse group of anyone from actors to students to the homeless to read Shakespeare aloud together.

Louis Schatzki, Sarah Byun, and Steve Park – Vanderbilt students in Theatre 1010: Fundamentals of Theatre – attended performances of this year’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They later gathered to discuss the implications of the event.

Louis Schatzki is a Junior physics major and theatre studies minor from Lexington, KY. He has had an interest in Shakespeare ever since second grade and performed many of Shakespeare’s works.

Sarah Byun is a Senior molecular and cellular biology major from Ellicott City, MD. She has loved reading Shakespeare since middle school, and her favorite Shakespeare play is Hamlet.

Steve Park is a Junior chemistry major from Reno, NV. He has a background in Shakespeare through his English classes in high school and has performed Hamlet for one of the classes.

Through the costumes, dancing, live music, and staging, this performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream effectively reached a diverse audience. The event was easily accessible to both children and adults, rich and poor.

Louis Schatzki (LS): We are here today to discuss the recent performance of Midsummer’s Night Dream in Centennial Park, near Vanderbilt campus. This was the 30th year of the annual performance. To start off, I would like to hear your opinions on the atmosphere and what that says about the performance.

Steve Park (SP): I really liked a lot of the elements that differed from traditional plays. There was a lot of live music. It’s new and incorporates Nashville.

LS: Why do you think they did that?

SP: I think it is because they’re the Nashville Shakespeare company. Nashville is Music City. They wanted to incorporate that live music component to make it more meaningful to the audience.

LS: Having live music connects with the audience?

SP: I think it makes it a more relatable experience for the relevant audience.

LS: What do you consider to be the relevant audience?

SP: Mostly people from Nashville.

LS: Maybe. I’m not sure how much most locals are involved with the music scene. I think that varies pretty heavily. I imagine most people aren’t very involved. But it may connect in some way. They didn’t broadcast that there would be live music, right?

SP: They did say arrive early for live music. But I don’t think they advertised the music during the play.

Sarah Byun (SB): I think they did make an attempt at engaging the audience and making them feel like part of the performance. The live music was one part of that—you can see the musicians from the audience. Also, the stage extended into the audience with lights and the movements of actors. It was interesting that they had some people just sitting on the stage, who seemed just like audience members. I’m not sure why they were placed there but it made the performers seem closer to the audience.

LS: When I think of this performance, one word comes to mind—casual. That is very descriptive of the atmosphere and their motives. It was free and extremely accessible. Anybody could go. You do not have to walk into a theatre and then sit in one place the entire time. People were coming and going which was very easy to do. There were also many families there. And since it was in the park, I saw people with, for example, soccer balls. The performance created a familial atmosphere. I think aspects of the play were intended to relate to kids: child actors and not entirely inaccessible language. The play reflected Nashville familial values. There were still aspects for the parents, some sexual innuendo, for example. The setting with the food trucks and festivities beforehand reinforces that it is a fun, casual event that anyone can go to. It was not a stiff nor standard theatre experience. For me, the most important takeaway is that the event was intended to be casual.

SP: I agree. I saw a lot of dogs at the performance. I think the setting was important too. The play is a Midsummer’s Night Dream. The performance occurred at night during the summer.

LS: I’m pretty sure the play switches yearly. Midsummer’s Night Dream is a popular choice since it’s entertaining. It does relate to summer and that may have played into their thought process. But they probably just rotate plays yearly.

SP: Even if it is a coincidence I think it helped with the atmosphere.

LS: I’m glad you mentioned the time of day because I also want to talk about that. That time serves a few purposes. It is late enough that adults would be off work and early enough for children, which was important to this atmosphere. The space you were in transforms as the play progressed because of the natural setting with dimming light. I think that’s a nice effect that draws the audience in.

SB: What I was struck by was the comedy. The company did a good job of translating the comedy into modern terms. Even if you didn’t understand all the words, they still conveyed the jokes through movements and facial expressions. This made it accessible to everyone, both kids and adults.

LS: How well do you think you understood the play?

SB: I have a basic understanding of the plot.

LS: Going in to it?

SB: Going into it. I had forgotten the aftermath. I remembered the love square and the queen of the fairies and the donkey. But I did not remember what happened next and a lot of it was surprising to me. The comedy sold a lot of the play for me. Even if you didn’t understand where the plot was going, you could see that what they were doing on stage was funny. Having that open stage encouraged the audience to laugh freely and that increased the social experience. You could see other people laughing.

LS: Could you elaborate on what you mean by “open stage”?

SB: I was struck by how the lighting was both strung outside…

LS: The lights that were above the audience?

SB: Yeah.
[The audience sits on towels and benches, watching the stage beneath the strings of lights.]

LS: That was a nice feature. I think that contributed to the enchanted feel of the play. It’s supposed to take place in the forest with all the fairies and the light helped with that. I’m not sure if I felt it was an open space though.

SB: I felt it was open because the roof of the stage slanted upwards. Whatever light they were using on stage went up and naturally guided my eye towards the sky. The night sky served as the roof. It felt like you were immersed in the world of the play rather than being an outsider watching a distinct world.

LS: I think I agree on the open roof effect. But I felt that the play was closed off. I don’t mean the action on stage, I mean the entire experience. They sectioned off the area with railing around the entire area. It was not people lying in the grass in the park. The performance was effectively roped off from the rest of the park. The lights had a sort of feedback with the night sky and amplified the feeling of enclosure and enchantment. It was a very different space.

SB: So, the closed off stage makes the play more effective?

LS: What are you defining as the stage here? I think it is an important distinction.

SB: The stage was where the actors are moving and where they are portraying the play and performing.

LS: I’m talking physically. In the space, when we were there, what did you think was the stage?

SB: You could consider the whole cordoned off region within the fences as the stage.

LS: Including where the audience was?

SB: Right.

LS: I would agree. The actors were moving around that. They would interact with the audience members occasionally.

SB: Well now I’m wondering because you emphasized that it was blocked off if that made it more effective than if it would have been without fences…

LS: Yes. It made it much more effective in my opinion. Without the fences, you feel like you’re still in the park. With it being enclosed, you lose some of that sense. As the sun is going down, it amplifies that effect in that it really cuts that space out from the rest of the park. You basically have to walk through a gate to get to it. It is a physically separate place. Even though you can easily walk in and out, once you get past the food trucks, the ambiance is completely different within the space for the play.

SP: Going off that point, with the fact that the stage is enclosed, the stage itself in that closed environment feels more open because of the interaction between the audience and the cast members.

LS: Well, the stage was that entire closed environment.

SP: Yeah, but through that it created a more casual environment, in the sense that if there was just a cornered off stage and people would just be watching, it wouldn’t be as casual as this play. Because they chose the whole space as the stage, it really captures the mood.

LS: Really? Well, thought problem here. What would seem more casual and/or effective: the stage fenced off as it was, or an open field where people would sit in the grass or bleachers in front of the stage but most of the action took place on the physically elevated stage? I don’t really know the answer, but I think it is more effective when the stage is enclosed because it captures you in that space, but I’m not sure which would be more casual. I think both of them are.

SB: I don’t know if more casual equals more effective, but more casual might not be desired. If you have it completely open and you didn’t have the fences or the physical boundaries, it would make it more casual simply because it would make it easier people to come in and out.

LS: It was still easy to go in and out but yeah, it would make it even easier definitely.

SB: It would be easy to just look and walk past. The enclosed space made it more effective because you had to physically step into the space. You can’t just passively look at it and walk by.

SP: Yeah, I’ve had a couple experiences where I’m looking at a live performance while I walk by: it’s not an immersive experience. This experience was much more immersive because of the enclosed space. It felt like an open environment in the space even though it was still closed off.

SB: So it’s closed off but not constricting?

SP: Yeah, that’s the best way to put it. That was an important aspect of the play that made it feel casual and not constricting.

SB: It is interesting to contrast with when you’re at a live concert at a park. With music concerts, you have that distinct stage where the musicians are performing to a seated audience. A play, however, has the concept of storytelling. It makes more sense to section off the area to help people get immersed in the play’s active narrative. It makes it a more intimate and personal experience, like reading a book. In a music concert, you’re listening and watching, but you have more options for what you want to do. You can close your eyes and listen, you can watch, or do both. But with theatre, you have to watch and listen to understand what is going on and fully enjoy the experience.

LS: I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a second. I’m going to argue that music can definitely be a storytelling experience and that the visual aspects versus the audio aspects of a concert sometimes can be equally as important. But I agree that it is definitely different for theatre. I’m not sure where exactly the distinction lies, but music can serve that storytelling role. It’s not as direct and explicit as it is in theatre.

SB: Musicians do use movement on stage, but theatre involves a lot more action. You focus a lot more on the movement on the stage and around it… It helps you pay attention and decide what motions to focus on as part of the performance when you have that space closed off; it helps defines the stage. Do you guys want to talk about the visual aspects like the costumes they used?

SP: The costumes they used were important. They weren’t the traditional costumes. Again with the casual aspect, they used modern, casual wear for the lovers.

[Image of the casual wear of the lovers.]

LS: It was a combination.

SP: Yeah, it was a combination. The fairies were dressed as fairies, the donkey was a donkey, but the lovers seemed more relatable and therefore casual.

[Image of Puck with the donkey head being coaxed away by Titania’s fairies.]

SB: It made the story more approachable. I’ve seen the play as an animation, and they made the film follow the traditional setting. It had all the characters dressed in time period appropriate clothes, like the men were wearing tunics and long boots. That difference in the performance that we watched makes it more approachable without feeling awkward or out of place .

LS: Do you think it is possible by modernizing it, you lose part of it?

SB: That is definitely a possibility, but I don’t think they went that far with the clothes. At least for me, the most critical part of the story is the contrast between the humans and the fairies. As long as they kept that distinction very clear, I think they still preserve the story and the magical-ness of it. Having the lovers dressed in the casual wear of our time period was a good modern interpretation.

LS: The most recent performance that I’ve been in did not include modern dress. I still thought it was accessible – I think the language was a modernized to make it accessible. It was a good touch in terms of considering the kids watching it to make that contrast. It is easier to see.

SB: What I meant as accessible isn’t that if people wore costumes of the time period that Shakespeare wrote the play in that it would have felt more off-playing…

LS: Well, the play is not set in Shakespeare’s time period. This was set in Ancient Greece.

SB: What I meant is that having them in modern casual wear made it feel like the audience can imagine it happening in their everyday life. It felt less like a fairytale.

LS: So, you think it lost some of the fairytale aspect?

SB: In that aspect it did, but I think the fantastical visual and musical presentation of the fairies and the forest actually made the play feel more magical. It inserts those otherworldly elements into the lives of people who are dressed normally like the audience, rather than having that magical fairy world exist around to characters who visually appear to be part of another world, a different time period and place.

LS: Changing the topic slightly, accessibility is a good word when thinking about this play. The play was free, you weren’t required to stay for the entire thing – I looked at the website and they had discounts on Lyft rides to and from it. I think that’s what they were going for, generally being accessible.

SB: Right, people often talk about accessibility especially with Shakespeare. So many people have a hard time just approaching Shakespeare because of the old English he uses. I think it is a great accomplishment that they kept the language intact, preserving the integrity of the play and the writing, and successfully made it feel more relatable and accessible by changing other aspects of how they performed it.

LS: Yeah. I’m curious about your opinions on this: Shakespeare in the Park is not something that’s unique to Nashville. It’s something that occurs across the country. Where I’m from, Lexington, Kentucky, it happens annually in the park there and generally gets pretty large turnout. It’s a little different, of course… I’m curious as to what aspects of this particular event made it feel uniquely Nashville to you.

SP: Personally I’m from Reno, Nevada, which is kind of a small city. We have parks, but we never had a play come and do a live performance like this, or at least I wasn’t aware of it. And whenever I was approached to watch a play, it was just a formal theatre or something similar. So I think that here it was more casual and more live music.

LS: Shakespeare in the Park is going to be casual no matter where you are. It’s pretty casual back in Lexington, I’d say. Slightly less, but still very casual across the country. I think the one in Lexington you might have had to pay for though.

SP: I think the live music and the accessibility of the play made it more Nashville-like to me? Because the play wasn’t accessible where I’m from.

SB: For me, back home in Ellicott City, Maryland, we have a Centennial Park as well. Every week during they have Sunset Serenades, where basically every Wednesday evening a musical group comes and has a little concert there. What really struck me as different with those concerts was that the audience was always very separate from the stage. The stage is like a little pavilion; it has its own roof, and the musicians all stand there and perform. There’s a walking path right in front of the pavilion, and then you have grass where people will sit down on towels and listen. But I think that distance it makes it less intimate. If you don’t have a good seat, you can’t even see the musicians performing and you can only hear them. Plus your immersion can easily be broken because you have people constantly walking across the path in front of your line of sight. So having the audience so close and part of the stage in the Nashville performance was very impactful. My experience with the play felt a lot more intimate and personal. My seating on the side of the stage also emphasized how live the experience was. Because I wasn’t seeing it straight on like you might see a movie, or if you go to a formal theatre, I saw different sides of the stage and the actors that I don’t think I would have normally noticed. So that intimacy made it feel more Nashville to me.

LS: I thought having the food trucks there was very Nashville.

SB: Yeah, we had no food trucks back home. It was always just an ice cream truck.

SP: Yeah, I’d never seen a food truck before back home.

LS: Anything else we want to talk about?

SB: I could talk about the movement in the play. I hadn’t ever seen a Shakespeare play live before, so it surprised me when I saw so much dance and almost musical-like movement. I didn’t expect their movement to be so choreographed, even when the lovers were fighting. It took me by surprise because I always read Shakespeare, so I’ve always processed the play like normal conversation, and I would see it that way when I saw it in the animated film. Having them dance made it feel more like an artistic performance to me, something that was particularly crafted in a way that wasn’t just people talking, and it felt more magical, more separate from real life.

LS: What did you think about the style of dance they were doing? I have in my notes that I thought some of the dances were a bit more militaristic, presumably a little less flowy?

SB: Do you mean for the fairies?

LS: I think it was towards the end, like the court. But I’m curious as to the specific dance – the fairies were more flowy but it still felt a little aggressive.

SB: The group dance was very tightly choreographed, so they were all doing the same thing at the same time so it could have felt that way. I think the part where the lovers were fighting and interacting felt more almost lyrical to me, the way they were moving. But there were definitely some scenes that felt more aggressive than others. I think it’s interesting they picked dance to portray a tone in the setting.

LS: Do you think the dances put a lighter tone on the play?

SB: I think conversely, it made it more intense. It emphasized whatever mood or tone they were going for that perhaps couldn’t be clearly expressed through the dialogue alone.

LS: The rest of the play, I think, is lighter, intended for a more varied audience with less experience with Shakespeare, but you think that dance was more intense to bring that feeling across.

SB: And to help the audience adjust to certain moods.

LS: I agree, and that ties in with the drumming in the background whenever there was a dance. I thought it was a little different than the rest of the play – a little more fierce, slightly different mood.

Shakespeare has a rich history as one of the most famous and culturally significant playwrights in human history. His works have been performed across centuries and in numerous different formats. One such format is the “Shakespeare-in-the-Park” style program, such as shown in the performance discussed here. By presenting and teaching Shakespeare to the public today, including a large number of children, this performance contextualized Shakespeare’s work and brought it to life off of the page, the format in which many American high schoolers are introduced to the bard. With an approach focused on accessibility, the performance bridged the lingual and cultural gap that prevents many from enjoying his works. In addition, the performance reflected Nashville’s atmosphere and familial values, creating a local, modern connection to the 16th century English play.

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7 Comments on “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM with Sarah Byun, Steve Park, and Louis Schatzki”

Overall, I agree that this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was an incredibly immersive experience. They had their work cut out for them when a chilly rain made outdoor seating less comfortable, but clever music, lighting, and costumes (and acting!) encapsulated viewers in the world the cast created. As Steve brought up, live music (a staple of Shakespeare productions I’ve seen) acknowledged the backbone of “Music City”–in fact, I found the folk-medieval blend of genres quite intentional. It helped to merge the modern venue with that for which Shakespeare wrote his pieces. Modern clothing also distinguished human lovers from fairies. Not everyone knows or cares for Shakespeare’s writing style–it’s hard to relate to people who speak in 17th-century verse–so I felt it worthwhile to sacrifice that bit of time immersion to connect certain characters with the audience.
Additionally, Louis mentioned the lights being strung above the audience as well as projected onstage. The “fairy lights” illuminated the entire space such that, as the sun set, the enchanted audience could more easily adjust to this new world of fantastical mystery. As I read about the lights leading vision to the sky, I wondered if the strings were also a way to simply contain the space from above. While there weren’t so many strings to form a cage, perhaps they actually drew upward-wandering eyes back to the stage.
All of this goes to show much detail went into every facet of this production; I hope to see many more from this company.

Emery Hall on October 4th, 2018 at 6:04 pm

I think that with all Shakespeare in the Park shows, or at least the ones in Nashville, immersion is truly the focus. The idea that the stage was lower to the ground and close to the audience is part of it, but I think so much of it has to do with the direct interactions between the actors and the audience. At multiple parts throughout the show, the audience would go off the physical platform and into the crowd, hiding behind audience members or running between them. Monologues are typically directed straight at the audience as well. Not only does this make any Shakespeare show feel more inclusive, it relates directly to Midsummer’s Night. When Puck addresses the audience at the end of the play to hold hands and bless the actors, we feel more inclined to trust him because we feel like we were truly there for the journey. The direct relationship between the actors and the audience established trust and understanding.

That same understanding can also bridge the communication gap between modern language and Shakespearean dialogue. As Sarah touched on, the audience made a deliberate show of modernizing the delivery of the dialogue. Even if you could not understand the exact meaning of every line, you were able to follow along easily because the actors used inflection and physical movements to make their points. The modern clothing, as discussed by the group, helped to blend the two eras as well. For children or adults who have not seen a Shakespeare show before, it is significantly less daunting to see this period piece if the many of the actors look like anyone you would pass on the street. It helps emphasize that though the story takes place in Ancient Greece and includes many fantastical elements, the themes of love and delusion are universal.

Annabelle Clarke on October 4th, 2018 at 7:49 pm

I was captivated by the argumentative, detailed, and collaborative analysis between Sarah, Steve, and Louis discussing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Looking back through my notes I took after watching the play myself they all touched on every detail I noticed as well. Specifically, there discussion on the costumes and dancing I found to be in line with my own opinions and thoughts. The costumes were so intricate and detailed for the fairies I had a hard time taking my eyes off of them. However, the costumes for the lovers were so different taking on a more modern look. I support what Sarah was saying that, “having them in modern casual wear made it feel like the audience can imagine it happening in their everyday life. It felt less like a fairytale.” To me it made it feel plausible to have such a magical life and love story, especially for the kids that were watching the play as well. The staging, the language, the costumes, and the casting all contributed to the inclusive and diverse play that A Midsummer Night’s Dream was at centennial park. Lastly, I want to respond to the discussion on the casual element that the stage and play had. The first thing I noticed about the stage was how open and inviting it was. I felt like I was apart of the play, like a prop. I also agree with what Sarah said again about the lights on the slanted ceiling created this enchanting effect and it drew my eyes up to the sky. It also was able to change the intricate colors and patterns to the different scenes, which I thought was an excellent way to transition to different sets without the resources of an inside stage or financial means. The lighting was so clever, beautiful, and captivating it really set the scene for the whole play in my opinion.

-Gabby Rademaker

Gabrielle Rademaker on October 7th, 2018 at 1:49 pm

The authors of this essay seemed to have placed a great emphasis in their conversation on how the staging of the play affected the experience of the performance. An interesting point that was brought forward was whether or not the fencing off of the area added to the experience, or if allowing a more open, and not fenced off area for the audience would have been a more effective way to engage the audience. In response to this, I would argue that the having the ropes allowed the audience to be more immersed and interactive with the play happening on stage. Although the stage itself was quite accessible and open with a sloping roof and sloping ramps reaching into the audience, the audience was still contained in the space in some way. This allows for the audience to commit more to sitting down and paying attention to the action and performance happening on stage. Often times, I have walked by a similar Shakespeare play in the park at my hometown, and the experiences I have had with their performances has been drastically different. There are no fences, and the stage is drastically smaller with no roof and a lot more props and decor perhaps to compensate for the lack of size. Their stage is set on a sloping open lawn where passersby are many. This open field with no way to contain or distinguish audience from passerby allows many to leave, or just to walk by the performance without truly sitting down and interacting with the play that is ongoing. Instead of the performance encompassing a huge space that includes the audience (such as when the actors in Nashville ran up the audience aisles onto the ramps leading to the stage, or out into the audience), the play in my hometown had a very distinct two sets of stairs where the actors would enter and exit the more highly elevated stage. The accessibility and seeming closeness of the performance to the audience as well as the audience being in a fenced off area creates a mini world of magical theater that the audience can immerse themselves in, in contrast to an open field where the audience is watching from an outsider perspective a little magical world of theater contained in its stage, making it easier for one to break that bond of attention, and making it more difficult to immerse oneself in the action.

Brianna Li on October 7th, 2018 at 7:44 pm

I greatly enjoyed this dialogue and its emphasis on the setting and more atmosphere-based observations of the production. I had a similar feeling of a connection to Nashville in my viewing experience as well. I think that regardless of how much the locals actually are involved in the music scene here, they own it as a part of their city’s culture and the live music in the play honed in on this specific cultural aspect. As someone who admittedly has not taken as many opportunities to go to Nashville-specific events, I enjoyed how the production of a seemingly far-removed play by Shakespeare felt so local and successfully connected with the audience.

I also thought they astutely characterized the production as “causal,” family-friendly, and accessible. The setting of the park really did bring a feeling of ease and comfort that is often lacking in traditional, more rigid theatre settings. The elements of this specific Shakespeare play including its easily comprehendible plot points, lighter themes, and fantastical characters are appropriate for most audiences. Additionally, the accessibility that the group characterized extends to a variety of audiences in that the park setting takes away some of the elitism often associated with theatre. Instead, the atmosphere was more that of community building rather than societal ranking.

Also, I enjoyed reading their comments delving into the boundaries of the stage. I think “immersive” is the perfect word to describe their use of an expanded stage. Though I sat in the back row far from the main stage, I still felt a part of the performance because of the fences, use of fairy lights throughout, and the actors’ use of the aisles all the way to the back. The dialogue highlighted how a more casual environment might not necessarily make the production more effective, but I agree that the fenced-in area within the park setting strikes the perfect balance between casual and engaging.

Overall, I shared some of the sentiments expressed in this dialogue and have taken away some new pieces of insight I would not have otherwise considered.

Soraya Sotudeh on October 7th, 2018 at 11:50 pm

During the performance, I thought much about the setting, atmosphere, etc. But one thing I completely missed was the effect the fencing had on the play. It was such a subconscious change, I hadn’t even noticed it while there. However, after having read this essay, I realized just how important that decision was. While it slightly limited the ease of entering and exiting the performance, it added an incredible amount to the play. It helped with technical aspects, such as allowing for actors to move around unnoticed, and improved the atmosphere of the play. The fencing brought the actors and audience together into one space that felt separate from the rest of the world but still a part of it. If the fencing had not been there, the actors would have seemed to be performing in front of an audience, not with the audience. And if the other extreme had been taken, being in a theatre or building, the play would feel entire removed from the world and lose that connection to everyday life. A near perfect balance was struck by the company with the amount of enclosure for the play. As well, the exact design of the band shell enhanced this further. Having an upward sloping roof and being a wide-open section of a ring made the space feel structured but not restrictive or claustrophobic. All this combined provided an atmosphere that provided a strong connection to real life without forfeiting aspects of the play and created an inclusive environment that anyone could easily join.

Lucas Bittof on October 8th, 2018 at 10:13 am

One of the best parts of this discussion is the emphasis on the casual nature of this production. For me, I am not accustomed to theater being such a lackadaisical experience especially because of the work and dedication that a company usually puts in to make a show memorable and meaningful for the audience. I’m not entirely sure if I am completely comfortable with a casual setting from a performer’s point of view. This is because I know how much the productions I perform in mean to me, so if that is not reciprocated, it bothers me to some extent. However, I do believe that it is admirable to make a theater experience accessible to anyone who chooses to see it. There a deep-rooted problem and a source of hypocrisy when shows claim to be social commentary that everyone needs to see, yet the tickets are expensive and inaccessible to people whose story is being told. The message is “universal”, but the practicality of seeing the show is unlikely. Having theater that is truly for the community and accessible to it shows that theater can be a impacting source of good in society. In regards to the show itself, I enjoyed the portion of the discussion that talked about how they tried to make the show more relatable to modernistic standards. I feel as if you have to revamp a show to make it more relatable, there should be more variety in what shows are being produced. Shakespeare is a timeless classic, but there should be a sense of connection with the text alone. Overall, I enjoyed reading how this experience made the authors of this post feel, and I truly do believe that it is a respectable and necessary thing that this production company is doing even though it makes me uncomfortable based upon my background with theatrical experiences.

Jermaine Leonard on October 8th, 2018 at 11:51 pm

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