There are few things as magical as watching Shakespeare's work being performed outdoors. Even the Globe Theatre in London was designed to recreate the original roofless Globe, combining the Bard's beautiful words and starry nights.
The Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre presented a weekend of Shakespeare on July 31st and August 1st. The show, "Much Ado About Nothing" was performed on a simple, yet beautiful set in White River State Park. With the river created the perfect backdrop and the performers shared barbs and banter as the sun set.
When performed without a sense of humor Shakespeare can feel stale and archaic, especially a comedy like "Much Ado About Nothing." HART's performers took the classic material and brought it alive, embracing the author's wicked wit. The cast included seasoned actors like Charles Goad and Mark Goetzinger, talented HART regulars Ben Tebbe, Michael Shelton and Diane Timmerman, a few newcomers and many others. They quickly captured the audiences' attention.
Despite slight bouts of rain the majority of the crowd stayed put, braving the storms under parkas and umbrellas. The lighting, set and costumes all added wonderfully to the experience. The sounds system was the only element that needed improvement.
HART first offered this FREE, yes completely free, event last year for a single night. This year they expanded the event to two nights. Individuals were encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, food and drink to the show and enjoy preshow entertainment and beautiful intermission music in addition to the play. There were also food and drink vendors, restrooms and fold out chairs available for those who didn't come quite as prepared.
Make sure you keep an eye out for next year's performance. It is truly a sublime summer treat. Sometimes supporting live theater requires only your attendance. In return you get a chance to experience Shakespeare as it was originally intended, live and under the stars.
Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre, a fully professional company. Past productions include readings of “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” and “An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe” and "Midwestern Hemisphere. For more information about HART and its upcoming events visit www.heartlandactors.org.
Photo Courtesy of HART