How Philadelphia nonprofit Shakespeare at Clark Park never stopped bringing performing arts to the community
As the world moved to the digital realm in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Shakespeare at Clark Park has adapted and overcome in a way that has allowed them to continue to provide safe and innovative in-person theater throughout. the duration of the pandemic.
In October 2020, SCP produced a modern take on the medieval tale of EVERYMAN which was performed live and in person 15 times while touring West Philadelphia. Their performance space was a “Pageant Wagon”, a converted trailer with modifications and set design directed by Curio Theater’s Paul Kuhn. SCP art director Kittson O’Neill co-directed with Ang Bey (also lead author) and used a set of designers to turn the old morality piece into a modern satire that speaks directly to the overwhelming pandemic moment. and racial justice that has exploded. with.
But how was it safe to perform for a live audience? After months of planning with the public health department, many protocols have been put in place. Well, the production incorporated extensive health restrictions into the creation process itself. The cast (Karen Getz, Ebony Pullum, Katrina Hall, Cameron Del Grosso, Ezra Ali-Dow, Marisol Rosa-Shapiro and James Whitfield) wore masks, streets and sidewalks were marked for socially distant viewing, and audiences were strictly limited to 25. The event was a smash success, and a recording of all the fun can be found here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlYhCMwffSc
This is not the end of the Pageant Wagon! Currently, Hedgerow Theater Company in Media, PA is using the new performance “venue” to present an outdoor production of Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Lisa Villamill (which you may see with SCP this summer).
If that wasn’t enough, SCP also continues to expand its community-generated projects which will result in public presentations this summer. Park Plays are original shows created by community members in two new locations, Harrowgate Park in Kensington and Vernon Park in Germantown. Both are inspired by Clark Park’s anchor show PERICLES, directed by Carly Bodnar. SCP is delighted to expand its reach beyond West Philadelphia, and to do so safely. Similar safety protocols will be in place for these summer activities, with crowds expected to register in advance and engage in a socially distant view.
Does this sound like fun? For more details and the most recent information on how to register for these shows for you, visit http://www.shakespeareinclarkpark.org/.