As the actors and actresses stepped onto the stage, an immediate hush fell over the audience. But rather than turning my attention to those in the spotlight, I was distracted by those in the audience. T-shirts and basketball shorts, suits and ties, sundresses and high heels, running shoes and even a few dogs in the mix – the diversity of the people in attendance was refreshing. This was not your average playhouse inside Actors Theatre of Louisville or the Kentucky Center for the Arts, but an outdoor arena, fit for all ages, all lifestyles and all fashions. This was Shakespeare in the Park, put on by Kentucky Shakespeare.
Located in the shade of Central Park in downtown Louisville, Shakespeare in the Park has been providing entertainment to the area for a little over 50 years. Kentucky Shakespeare holds the record for the oldest free Shakespeare Festival in the country and is known for putting a unique twist on the familiar acts composed by the English playwright. Currently performing “Much Ado About Nothing,” the company provides an American Western spin to its summer 2012 season opener.
“This type of presentation introduces the work of Shakespeare to the audience in a non-threatening, non-snooty way. It’s introducing (the audience) to what Shakespeare’s really about and (instilling) community engagement,” said Kentucky Shakespeare CEO, Brantley M. Dunaway. The play depicts familiar feelings and scenarios with the language used in Shakespeare’s original pieces, making it great for a family-friendly evening of entertainment.
If Shakespeare isn’t for you, Monday Movie Nights also offer a fun atmosphere for a family gathering. Showing movies such as Shakespeare in Love, Rocky Horror Picture Show and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, there’s something for everyone. To round out the season, Shakespeare in the Park will also feature “Measure for Measure,” August 2 through 5.
Filling the park with laughter and music each night (with the exception of Monday Movie Nights) this elevated, yet elementary take on Shakespeare will be running July 12 through 29. Entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m. and the curtain opens at 8:30 p.m. VIP seats are $20 for comfy chairs and unlimited drinks from the full-service bar.
If you would like more information about Shakespeare in the Park and Kentucky Shakespeare, visit www.kyshakespeare.com.
July 12-29 *excluding Mondays
Closed Captioned Performances July 20, 21
Monday Movie Nights:
Show times begin at 9:00 PM
July 9th: Shakespeare in Love
July 16th: Anonymous
July 23rd: Rocky Horror Picture Show
July 30th: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Photos By JAMES EATON | Contributing Photographer