Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shakespearean Theater Comes to Life at West-Park

Last week, we wrote about the Woodshed Collective's run of "The Tenant" at West-Park Presbyterian Church.  The LW! staff is excitedly looking forward to experiencing this site-specific production for ourselves at this evening's show -- stay tuned for our musings in the coming days!

There are still plenty of opportunities to take in experiential theater on the West Side post-Woodshed, thanks to West-Park!  The church and its congregation continue the long history of supporting the theater and providing a venue for artistic expression with the Dark Lady Players' production of "Shakespeare's Gospel Parodies".  As with "The Tenant", this show is free to the public!  So read on to learn more about the troupe, the show and dates to mark on your calendar!

From the Dark Lady Players

West-Park Presbyterian Church
Hosts NYC’s Experimental Shakespeare Company

Beginning August 24th West Park is hosting the Woodshed Collective for their sold out, site-specific production of The Tenant which runs on Wednesdays-Saturday. In parallel West-Park is also hosting the experimental theater group the Dark Lady Players for their production of Shakespeare’s Gospel Parodies; A Medieval Mystery Tour. The production uses the sets that Woodshed has built and runs from 11 to 25 September, at 4:00 Sunday and 7:00 Monday-Tuesday. Tickets are free and available at the door on a first come first served basis.

West Park has a long association with Shakespeare, having previously been the home of the Riverside Shakespeare Company, having a 50 seat balcony theater dedicated by Joe Papp, and being the home of the 'Shakespeare Center,’ and the 'Shakespeare Project’ in the 1980s. It was where the Royal Shakespeare company did their first US residency. More recently it has been the venue for Shakespeare performances by the York Shakespeare company taking advantage of the building’s unique acoustics.

The Dark Lady Players perform the allegorical levels of Shakespeare’s plays showing that plays these are religious parodies. The Shakespeare plays contain 14 resurrections, 12 Apocalypses, 5 Virgin Mary Allegories, 3,000 additional religious references, a variety of Christ figures and were written using 14 different translations of the Bible. And yet none of the plays end in Paradise. Why do the Marys (Juliet, Ophelia, Desdemona) die before giving birth to the savior? Why are the Messiah figures (Laertes, Shylock, Bottom/Pyramus) defeated? These parodies resemble those in Jewish/Marrano literature and suggest that the author of the plays may not have been William Shakespeare but England’s only Jewish poet of the time.This was the subject of a cover article last summer in Reform Judaism magazine.

Shakespeare’s Gospel Parodies
is a tour of key events from the life of Jesus as represented in parody in the plays, all based on reputable scholarship. The audience will walk from one scene to another around the building, under the guidance of docents, as if the scenes were living speaking pictures in a museum. The director is Jenny Greeman, the dramaturg John Hudson. After the performance on Sunday 18 September there will be a talkback with West Side clergy to discuss some of the implications. The production is partially funded by the Alliance of Resident Theaters-NY Nancy Quinn Fund. For more details visit
www.facebook.com/darkladyplayers or email Darkladyplayers@aol.com

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