By Jesse Kline, intern
For a uniquely small-town and fun afternoon, there are few better places to go than a free live performance of Shakespeare in the Park.
Monroe theater company Last Leaf Productions is continuing the tradition of Shakespeare in the Park, an international effort to bring free public presentations of Shakespeare’s works to communities, with their performance of Othello on Friday at Paula’s Wine Knot in Monroe.
Othello is a tragedy and one of the more popular and frequently performed of Shakespeare’s plays.
While the images generally associated with Shakespeare include dark theaters and overwrought acting, these free public performances of the plays are closer to how they would have originally been performed.
Often, when the theaters were being remodeled or when they were damaged, actors would still perform plays in public settings for all to see.
Last Leaf has been performing Shakespeare for the last 15 years with a rotating cast of actors. Their goal is to bring free performances to areas that have both an interest in the plays and a lack of other places to see them acted out.
According to Gail Wamba, who directed last week’s performance of Two Gentlemen of Verona, their performances serve as a good introduction to Shakespeare while still being faithful enough to the source material to not disappoint longtime fans.
The cast wants nothing more than to entertain the audience, and so the edits to the original material are done with careful precision to heighten the humor or drama of the scene, she said. The shows are entertaining and the actors friendly and open to questions and discussions about the play after the performance.
Last Leaf Productions is always looking for new actors and hold auditions often. More information can be found on their website, www.lastleaf99.org/