Drilling Company performs free outdoor Shakespeare at La
Plaza @ The Clemente Parking Lot, 107 Suffolk Street, located
at 107 Suffolk Street, just three blocks from
the municipal parking lot where the plucky New York cultural attraction
started in 1995. This is our 24th season!
directed by Karla Hendrick
with Jane Bradley as Hamlet
July 12 - 28, 2018
|Jane Bradley as Hamlet. Photo by Lily el
The Drilling Company, Hamilton Clancy Artistic Director,
will present "Hamlet," directed by Karla Hendrick and
starring Jane Bradley, for its 2018 Shakespeare in the Parking
To our knowledge and research, we are the first
major New York outdoor stage company to offer a production with
a female Hamlet. Unlike the well-known cross-gender castings of
the masterpiece (from Sarah Siddons to Sarah Bernhardt to Maxine
Peake), this one is not a woman playing a man: the title character
is a feminine Princess of Denmark, whose tragedy is meant to explore
when happens when you inject female power into a chaotic and confused
Director Karla Hendrick will stage the character as a modern
young woman of intelligence and wisdom. This Hamlet, clad in skirts,
is rendered powerless when her uncle, Claudius, inserts himself
into the line of succession and thrusts her aside. Determined
and noble, she is someone who would take control through heart
and with strength, but her conscience is a paralyzing force; moreover,
she finds herself continuously isolated and betrayed by those
closest to her and this impacts her ability to function. The play
will be cut to a little over two hours to give the feeling of
a world speeding out of control around her. The audience is challenged
to consider whether the ascendancy of a female ruler could have
wrought a better Denmark.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will both be women and Polonius
will become Polonia, a mother. Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia
will be a lesbian love affair. Laertes will remain a man and the
duel at the play's end will be a sword fight in which Hamlet's
intelligence and wit are evenly matched against Laertes' brawn.
|Gracie Winchester (L) as Ophelia and Jane
Bradley (R) as the Princess of Denmark. Photo by Lily el Naccash.
Parking Lot regulars will recognize Jane Bradley from her appearances
in "As You Like It," "Twelfth Night," "The
Merchant of Venice" and "Othello." Drilling Company
fans will also recall her as Susan in "Gabriel: A Polemic"
by C. Denby Swanson last fall at North of History. In "As
You Like It" (2015), she earned high praise from the New
York Times (Ken Jaworowski), who called her "marvelous as
Rosalind, heightening the humor with clever gestures and speaking
the speech remarkably well, even over the din of nearby street
noise. Her scenes with the fool Touchstone...and her would-be
beau, Orlando...are wonderful by any standard." When the
production was revived for Bryant Park Shakespeare the next year,
Front Row Center (Donna Herman) called her a "stunning Rosalind"
whose "handling of Shakespeare's language is perfect"
and who "transforms herself physically into the man Ganymede
with just the right touch--we believe she could fool without forgetting
who she is." In 2014, reviewing her as Emilia in "Othello,"
The Times' Ken Jaworowski declared, "Ms. Bradley, in particular,
stands out in her valiant closing scene." In 2017, NY Theatre
Wire's Beate Hein Bennet, reviewing her in "Gabriel:A Polemic,"
praised her "bravura performance" writing, "Jane
Bradley imbues Susan with a sharp tongue that slices the air like
a rapier as she presents her challenge from the outset: 'Is there
free will?' Her energy never falters as she dominates the argument."
Ms. Bradley is Associate Artistic Director of The Drilling Company
and has directed its production of "Twelfth Night" for
Bryant Park Shakespeare. She relates she was originally daunted
by the challenge of playing Hamlet, but now realizes that the
role is totally open to interpretation. She muses, "The big
task is to remain honest and make discoveries, to bring yourself
to the role as much as possible."
Director Karla Hendrick made her Parking Lot directorial debut
last season with "All's Well That Ends Well" and is
now one of the company's core directors. She is also one of The
Drilling Company's most accomplished actresses. For her performance
as Betty in "The Norwegians" by C. Denby Swanson, she
was cited by The New York Times as one of the Top 25 Quirky and
Magical Moments in Theater of 2013. Her other significant roles
in the company include the Woyzeck character's psychiatrist in
"Reservoir" by Eric Henry Sanders and her performances
in both the Parking Lot and Bryant Park in "Hamlet"
(Gertrude) and "The Merry Wives of Windsor" (Mistress
Ford). She earned a BA in Theater Arts from Mount Holyoke, attended
the British American Drama Academy, Oxford and earned an MFA from
Brooklyn College. She is a Master Teaching Artist at the Roundabout
|Gracie Winchester as Ophelia. Photo by Jonathan
Commenting on Maxine Peake's Hamlet (in theater in 2014, on film
in 2016), English critics have recounted the tradition of women
performing Hamlet, from Sarah Siddons in 1777 to many Victorian
actresses, amateur and professional. Sarah Bernhardt, the first
actress to be filmed in the part, declared it should always be
performed by a woman. Female Hamlets declined during the supposedly
feminist 20th century and critics speculated this might have been
due to the rise in importance of star directors, who until recently
were predominantly male. Cross-gender casting has traditionally
made Hamlet a choice role for women over 40, but the interpretation
of Hamlet as a real woman is rare, even in our time. "Clearly
the time is ripe for a female-directed Hamlet with a female lead.
The character ultimately is Shakespeare’s greatest 'every
person' " said Hamilton Clancy, Artistic Director of The
Drilling Company and Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.
The cast includes Bob Arcaro* as Claudius, Bill Green* as Ghost,
Una Clancy as Gertrude, Adam Huff* as Laertes, Elowyn Castle*
as Polonia, Gracie Winchester* as Ophelia, Ayo Oneke Cummings
as Horatio, Aly Talley Byatt as Rosencrantz, Lulu Fairclough-Stewart
as Guildensternb, Dan Teachout* as Player King, Kendra Oberhauser
as Player Queen, Maggie Rothberg as Lucianus and Colleen Cosgrove
Assistant Director is Dave Marantz. Set Designer is Jennifer
Varbalow. Fight Choreographer is Brad Frost. Stage Manager is
Whitney Rich. Company Manager is Jaquawn Turner. Light Coordinator
is Margo Tillstrom.
member, Actor's Equity Assn.
A PARKING LOT?
"It is a tremendously accessible gathering place in the heart
of the city. Like most companies that do Shakespeare we are following
the spirit of Joseph Papp. But putting our own spin on it by placing
it in a parking lot, making an urban wrinkle," says founding
artistic director Hamilton Clancy. Shows are offered while the
lot is in use. The action sometimes happens around a parked car
which drives away during a performance. At such times, the players
stop and the audience moves its chairs, pausing the performance
the same way a show would stop for rain uptown in Central Park.
It's all part of the fun.
in the Parking Lot was begun in 1995 by Expanded Arts under the
artistic direction of Jennifer Spahr. When Ms. Spahr retired in
2000, an organization known as Ludlow Ten was formed under the
direction of Leonard McKenzie. The Drilling Company began co-producing
SITPL with Ludlow Ten in 2001. After Mr. McKenzie's retirement
in 2005, The Drilling Company was asked to continue the great
tradition of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. The attraction moved
to its current location at 114 Norfolk Street in 2015.
Shows in the Parking Lot
DO I GO
TO SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKING LOT?
* The Parking
Lot is located behind La Plaza @ The Clemente
at 107 Suffolk Street, between Rivington and
* Shows are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:00 PM
and admission is FREE.
* Seats are available on a first come first served basis, with
audience members often arriving early to secure a place. You
are welcome to bring your own chair. Once seats are gone, blankets
are spread out.
never turned anyone away and there's never a wait for tickets.
F to Delancey Street, M to Essex Street. MAP
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot