Monday, October 3, 2016

REMEMBER ME • Shakespeare in the Streets: Maplewood

Shakespeare in the Streets, one of the outreach programs under Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. Combining a community’s individuality and history with one of Shakespeare’s plays, past years have included Cherokee Street, the Grove, Clayton and Old North St. Louis. This year, Shakespeare in the Streets had its biggest audience yet, featuring Maplewood. Instead of one play though, playwright-in-residence Nancy Bell blends a mash-up of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and a dash of Romeo & Juliet, to tell a tale of shared community stories from the residents of Maplewood, and she does so skillfully. The production features professional actors and local residents and students, but also these magnificent puppets, up to about 15 feet tall, courtesy of the talented artists from Living Arts Studio. These striking creations represent Maplewood’s past -- or more appropriately, Maplewood’s ghosts.

Theseus, Mayor of Maplewood (Aaron Orion Baker)
and Hippolyta of Clayton (Jeanitta Perkins).
Photo credit: Michael Kilfoy, Studio X
Reminiscent of the opening of Midsummer, the wedding of Theseus, the mayor of Maplewood (Aaron Orion Baker) and Hippolyta of Clayton, (Jeanitta Perkins) is about to take place, but Maplewood’s spirits threaten to spoil the proceedings. We learn more about these ghosts through the research of our historian, Hamlet, played by Joanna Cole Battles. She learns about local figures like Vito, a father whose photo hangs in Mystic Valley New Age Gifts and More, and the spirits of Joseph Sunnen and John Collins, but the most looming figure of all (literally) is the ghost of Clara Clamorgan. Her story of interracial marriage and its heartbreaks in the early 1900s was thrillingly presented when her ghost appears larger than life on the roof of a building. These phantoms want to be remembered, so Hamlet stages a play-within-the-play designed to entertain Theseus and Hippolyta after their wedding, and also to remember and honor the ghosts of Maplewood’s past so they can be at rest.

Photo credit: Michael Kilfoy, Studio X
Lucy Cashion’s direction is marked by the unique style she brings to her shows at ERA, and Mark Wilson’s design and Jennifer ‘JC’ Krajicek’s costumes were excellent, along with the music and original songs by music director and composer, Joe Taylor. You can tell the team at Shakespeare Festival did their research.

Keep an eye out for their next production -- they only run for one weekend, they’re free, and always a unique experience.

Francisco, a sophomore at MRH High School (Stephen Vita Tronicek)
and Ms. Bottom, drama teacher at MRH (Phyllis Thorpe).
Photo credit: Michael Kilfoy, Studio X

Written by Nancy Bell
Directed by Lucy Cashion
On Sutton Blvd. between Marietta & Hazel
Run concluded | tickets: FREE
Performances 8pm nightly

Theseus, Mayor of Maplewood: Aaron Orion Baker*
First Sister, Co-owner of Mystic Valley: Emily Baker
Hamlet, a Maplewood native: Joanna Cole Battles*
Second Sister, Co-owner of Mystic Valley: Anna Grimm
Hippolyta of Clayton, engaged to Theseus: Jeanitta Perkins
Bernardo, a junior at MRH High School: Reginald Pierre
Third Sister, Co-Owner of Mystic Valley: Traci Ponticello
Ms. Bottom, long-time beloved drama teacher at MRH: Phyllis Thorpe
Horatio, friend of Hamlet: Rachel Tibbetts
Francisco, a sophomore at MRH High School: Stephen Vita Tronicek
Osric, a wedding entertainer: Michael Weidle

Photo credit: Michael Kilfoy, Studio X
Voices of Maplewood Ghosts
Clara Clamorgan: Jeanitta Perkins
Ten-Foot Ghost: Emily Baker
Charles Ames: Phyllis Thorpe
Streetcar: Ashleigh Owens
Charles Rannells: Michael Weidle
John F. Kennedy: Patrick Meyers
Slave: Reginald Pierre
Joseph Sunnen: Stephen Vita Tronicek
John Collins: Aaron Orion Baker*
Vito: Benjamin Kaplan
Marilyn: Anna Grimm
Mr. Mines: Jason Meyers
Mrs. Mines: Shelley Nicole Spence

Production Designer: Mark Wilson
Costume Designer: Jennifer ‘JC’ Krajicek
Music Director/Composer: Joe Taylor
Production Manager: Tom Martin
Stage Manager: Richard B. Agnew*
Master Electrician: Toby Beck
Properties Master: Meg Brinkley
Sound Mixer: Casey Hunter
Assistant Stage Manager: Wilson Webel
House Manager/Playbill Design: Michael B. Perkins

* Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of
Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Fiddle: Kevin Buckley
Theremin: Josephine Kaplan
Accordion: Ashby Laws
Guitar/Drums: Matt McGaughey
Mandolin: Jason Scroggins
Bass: Jacob Stern
Keyboards: Joe Taylor
Drums/Trumpet: Philip Zahnd

No comments:

Post a Comment