By Holly Glen Gearhart
Monroe theater group Last Leaf Productions will perform “Two Gentleman of Verona” and “Othello: The Moor of Venice” for their annual Shakespeare in the Park series this summer. The theatrical group predicts a good turnout based on attendance from last season. Though they are readying for opening night they are presently in search of a stage manager.
The position of stage manager is a paid position, with responsibilities which include,“… transporting sets and costumes in company-provided truck, supervising set up and break down, maintaining an actor contact sheet, making notes during rehearsal, and facilitating communication between producer, directors, and actors,” according to Alexandra Clark, secretary to Last Leaf.
Interviews will be held on May 7and 8 at the Sky Valley Education Center, 351 Short Columbia St., Monroe. To be considered for this position, send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to qualify for the position, one must have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record with documentation from DOT, and clear a state background check.
2013 is the 15th season of Last Leaf’s free Shakespeare productions in the park. During Last Leaf’s annual Shakespeare in the Park series, which kicks off June 29, plays are presented on weekends in area parks, including Lake Tye Park in Monroe on July 12 and 19. The season runs through the first weekend in August with an extra performance Aug. 17.
This year also marks the 54th year of the Shakespeare in the Park tradition begun by Joe Papp.
Beginning in 1956, New York theater producer Joe Papp brought the word of the Bard to throngs who might never have otherwise been able to afford to attend a performance. He did this by offering free performances of Shakespeare in parks.
Papp, considered by many to be the founder of public theatre, spent years promoting the idea of free Shakespeare in New York City. In 1956, Papp’s production of Taming of the Shrew, run outdoors at the East River Amphitheater on New York’s Lower East Side, proved to be a crucial evening because the performance was reviewed by influential theater critic Brooks Atkinson, considered to be the top American theatre critic.
Addison gave a rousing review of the play in the new venue in The New York Times and, according to Dewhurst, “with Brooks Atkinson’s blessing, our world changed overnight. Suddenly in our audience of neighbors in T-shirts and jeans appeared men in white shirts, jackets and ties and ladies in summer dresses. Suddenly we were ‘the play to see,’ and everything changed. We were in a hit.”
Shakespeare himself made sure that his plays were accessible to those who weren’t wealthy; there were always free seats available at the Globe Theater in London, where his plays were performed in the 1500s.
To learn more about how to keep the tradition of free Shakespeare performances alive, visit www.lastleaf99.org or find the the group on Facebook or Twitter.