It’s that time of year again, where people are filled with joy, the trees are covered in a shine of green, bottles (and people) are covered in sweat, and Riverside Park is filled with tragedy.
This tragedy, though, is the re-arrival of The Bard on the Upper West Side. For the 9th-consecutive year since its founding in 2004, Hudson Warehouse and its collection of passionate artists is performing Shakespeare at the beautiful north patio of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Riverside Park.
This year the Hudson Warehouse, which dubs itself “the other free Shakespeare in the Park”, is performing Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, Richard III, and the lesser-known The Rover by Aphra Behn throughout the summer.
“When you see the audience leave with the big smiles on their faces, I don’t know what is more satisfying or more thrilling”, said Susane Lee, Hudson Warehouse’s Assistant Artistic Director. “I really think art should be for everybody… and it should be accessible.”
A typical Hudson Warehouse performance is in about as casual as it gets — in front of of an audience seated on the monument’s steps and fashioned with cushions.
“We want anyone to stop by, sit down on the steps, and watch theater. And we want to be as high-caliber as possible. We’re out there and are free theater, but we want to knock peoples’ socks off.”
This past Sunday’s show, directed by Lee herself, was a rendition of Comedy of Errors. Under skies that were cloudless and pink at showtime, Lee and her clan of actors, ranging from ages 20s to 40s, performed an updated, nuanced, and idiosyncratic version of the slapstick comedy. These idiosyncrasies are what make their version stand out.
“This space makes me feel very creative”, Lee said at the end of the performance and in the midst of disrobing and dressing actors. “I feel like this space inspires us to be more creative and think outside the box, and I love that.”
It is in this setting that makes Hudson Warehouse flourish. With actors jumping around the audience and milking the monument’s patio for all it’s worth, along with a 1 hour 35 minute run-time, the theater company keeps the audience engaged and laughing throughout the entire performance.
Hudson Warehouse performs at 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Sundays through August. Comedy of Errors is the featured play this month, followed by Behn’s The Rover in July, and Richard III in August.
“There is no angst-ing about tickets… if you come we take you in. We invite everyone… you’ll see great theater,” Lee said.
You can follow Hudson Warehouse on Twitter for heads-ups about their performances and events– @HudsonWarehouse
Tags: aphra behn, comedy of errors, dromio of ephesus, hudson warehouse, hw, New York City, Nick Baldock, richard III, Riverside Drive, Riverside Park, Shakespeare, soldiers' and sailors' monument, susane lee, the rover, upper westside, west 80th
Trackback from your site.