2015 SEASON IN BRYANT PARK
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
NEW YORK TIMES
Sometimes the battle of the sexes is not enough. The Drilling Company read turf wars and class consciousness into its production of "The Taming of the Shrew," to be presented for Bryant Park Shakespeare September 4 to 20, directed by Alessandro Colla. In an intrepid adaptation, the popular comedy was transported to a modern New England fishing village, not unlike Martha's Vineyard, where Katherina is a member of the yachting set and Petruchio is a local fisherman.
ROMEO AND JULIET
Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" exquisitely pleads for similar and neighboring peoples to stop killing each other for reasons they no longer remember. In The Drilling Company's production for Bryant Park Shakespeare, presented July 17 to August 2, the play was set in a modern city which is divided by wealth and class. Directed by David Marantz, it aimed to send a clear message about the violence that can result from social division and corporate greed.
For this production, the performing area was on the Bryant Park Stage, which is across the park from the Upper Terrace Steps, at the Fountain Terrace near Sixth Avenue, with audience on the gravel and lawn.
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA
In Shakespeare's First Folio edition, "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" opens with Valentine leaving Verona for Milan to finish his education, leaving his friend Proteus at home to woo Julia. The Drilling Company's version, which opened the second season of Bryant Park Shakespeare, was set in NYC's Little Italy and Shakespeare's two cities are transformed into two rival New York restaurants.
The actors were Brian Patrick Murphy as Proteus, Andrew Gombas as Valentine, Eric Paterniani as Launce, Drew Valins as Speed, Kristin Piacentile as Silvia, Lauriel Friedman as Lucetta, Tori Ernst as Julia and Zlatomir Moldovanski in a variety of ensemble roles. Crab, Launce's ornery hound, was played by a dog named Chewy. Scenic and costume design were by Jennifer Varbalow. Sound design was by Anna Grossman.
451st BIRTHDAY BASH
William Shakespeare turned 451 on Thursday, April 23 and to celebrate the Bard's birthday, The Drilling Company's Shakespeare in the Parking Lot ensemble and Bryant Park Shakespeare took over Bryant Park for the second year in a row with "Shakespeare's Birthday Bash" from 12:30 to 2:30. An energetic, two-hour collection of live performances and participatory events were offered, all free to the public.
Peppering the park from 12:30 to 1:00 PM, a "Shakespearean Flash Mob" of over fifty actors from The Drilling Company performed excerpts from every play in the Shakespeare Canon. Performers included Robert Agis, Vanessa Altshuler, Marlain Angelides, Ivory Aquino, Ella Dershowitz, Adit Dilep, Lauren Downie, Tori Ernst, Noelle Franco, Lauriel Friedman, Ziv Gidron, Sara Glancy, Andrew Gombas, Tygar Hicks, Luke Hoffmaier, Kelsie Jepsen, Meg Kiley Smith, Kineta Kunutu, Amanda Lederer, Michaela Lind, Dave Marantz, Iris McQuilla-Grace, Tom McVey, Zlatomir Moldovanski, Michael Sazonov, John Smiley, Jack Sochet, Drew Valins, Ryan Ward, Grace Winchester and Katie Zaffran.
On the Fountain Terrrace Stage from 1:00 to 1:30, Shakespearean song stylings were performed with vocals and string instruments by Thicket & Thistle, a NYC-based folk band and writing/performance collective which focuses on devising new works which interweave theater and original music. The ensemble is led by Jonathan Eric Foster, Artistic Director and Sarah George, Managing Director and includes company members Kyle Acheson, Sam De Roest, Nyssa Duchow and Corley Pillsbury.
On the Fountain Terrace Stage from 1:30 to 2:00, audience members won free T-shirts by grabbing a microphone and reading a Shakespearean speech aloud.
Througout the event, on the Fountain Terrace, a Shakespeare's Birthday Banner was raised for all to enjoy. You could write your own sonnet or favorite Shakespearean quotation, or inscribe your own birthday greeting, on a large scrolling banner. Messages from last year's attendees were on display in what is becoming an installation of perennial contributions from New York aficianados.
Bryant Park's food service kiosks were a source of noshes for this delightfully complete Midtown lunchtime diversion.
ADVANCE COVERAGE FOR THIS YEAR
AND WRITEUPS OF PAST SEASONS