Shakespeare troupe visits Collier Park
As a plane roared by overhead during a presentation of William Shakespeare's “The Comedie of Errors” at Collier Park, Andy Kirtland blew his whistle.
Kirtland, co-founder of the Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project, signaled his troupe to pause, then led them in a chorus of “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
It wasn't the typical Shakespeare in the Park performance. That's exactly how Kirtland likes it.
“It's great and something a lot of actors aren't used to anymore. It's something an audience isn't used to a lot anymore,” he said.
Kirtland and his wife, Elizabeth Ruelas, founded the Project in 2011. Its actors employ the Unrehearsed Cue Scroll Technique, in which they carry paper scrolls containing only the final four words of their cue lines, their own lines and stage directions.
The actors in “The Comedie of Errors” never performed together until these weekend shows on June 28 and 29.
“This is the first time they've found out what those (cue lines) were and what happens in-between. They're encouraged not to read the play or see a production of it before they do this. Even if they have done a production of this before, you kind of forget what happens when you approach it looking at their own lines.”
The Shakespeare comedy tells the story of two sets of identical twins who were separated at birth.
“For the first go-round of this company, doing a complete show together, doing something most of them have never done before, it went really well.”
Lisa Novak, Collier's parks and recreation director, said the Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project was looking for a park in which to perform.
“It's different. I don't think anything like this has ever been done. Of course, we've got sports going on all over the place and we're building the community center. This is a little bit of culture,” she said.
Kirtland said the Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project is attempting to be the antidote to the “stuffy, academic approach” and intellectual stigma that is often associated with the Bard's work.
He told the audience in Shakespeare's era, plays were competing with many other distractions for the audience's attention. Different plays were performed each day, except for Sundays, and never repeated during a two-week period.
“It was written for the people and it was written to make money. Everybody forgets that. They think he wrote these large, intellectual, introspective views into the human soul and psyche. They were just trying to get butts in the seats. They were competing with brothels and gambling houses and bars.”
During the presentation, Kirtland acted as a “safety net,” wearing a black-and-white striped referee's shirt. He possessed the only full copy of the script and helped actors, if needed, to keep the play moving forward.
Kirtland, originally from Baltimore, has a bachelor's degree in theater from Dickinson College and studied with the British American Drama Academy and the International University Global Theater Experience.
He said “accessibility” to the works of Shakespeare is a “four-letter word” in some theater circles.
“That's totally not what this is.
“So many people have come up and said, ‘Wow, I actually understood that. I've never understood Shakespeare before, but I followed this. I understood the play,'”
David Mayernik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.