Theatre in the Park and Lincoln Land Community College present one of Shakespeare’s earliest romantic comedies, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” May 29, 30, 31, June 4, 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site. Tickets are now available online. Tickets are also available by calling 217-632-5440, Wednesdays through Fridays, noon – 5 p.m. or noon -8 p.m.on show nights.
Directed by Mark Hardiman, LLCC professor of theatre, the play explores the pursuit of love and how ridiculous four young lovers may behave on their varied journeys to true love. “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” is considered one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays. It deals with love and rivalry and includes some of the Bard’s most memorable foolish servants and sassy young women. The style of the play is gloriously over-the-top with bigger than life characters. The production is in the style of commedia dell’arte. It is from commedia that we acquired the term “slapstick,” which is a board to make loud “crack” when a clown strikes another in this broadly physical style of comedy. The production will be bold with slapsticking, swashbuckling swordplay and hilarious bumps and pratfalls.
At LLCC, Hardiman has directed numerous productions and teaches acting, directing, intro to theatre, improvisation and stage combat. He has worked professionally as an actor, director and fight choreographer for over two decades, including work at San Diego Repertory Theatre and the Bowery Theatre in California. In Chicago, he worked at City Lit Theatre and Chicago Dramatists, and was founder and producing artistic director for Talisman Theater, which performed in Chicagoland for 15 years. Some Talisman productions under his direction included “Macbeth,” “Taming of the Shrew,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Twelfth Night.”
Hardiman says, “This broadly comic rendition, is intended to make Shakespeare accessible and fun. Think Charlie Chaplin and the Three Stooges meet Shakespeare.”
Theatre in the Park will also host pre-shows, with doors opening at 6:45 p.m. The pre-shows will feature:
Friday, May 29, 7 p.m. – Fealty / 7:20 p.m. director Mark Hardiman
Sunday, May 30, 7 p.m. – Linda Schneider / 7:20 p.m. director Mark Hardiman
Sunday, May 31, 7 p.m. – TBA / 7:20 p.m. director Mark Hardiman
Thursday, June 4, 7 p.m. – Lowder & Manning / 7:20 p.m. director Mark Hardiman
Friday, June 5, 7 p.m. – Wildwood Strings / 7:20 p.m. director Mark Hardiman
Saturday, June 6, 7 p.m. – Donn Stephens & Kayla Primm / 7:20 p.m. director Mark Hardiman
For more information, please contact TIP’s Executive Director, Kari Catton, at 217-241-3241, or visit www.theatreinthepark.net.