Fairs & Festivals 2010
From traditional county fairs and innovative theater performances to music of all types, these 20 local events help put the fun in summer
(page 5 of 6)
Photograph by William Marsh
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
Garrison, June 15-Sept. 5
Fans know that, when it comes to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, you should expect the unexpected. If you’ve never been, then get thee hence to Garrison as fast as you can. This critically acclaimed program — which takes place outdoors on the breathtaking banks of the Hudson River at Boscobel — is guaranteed to expand the horizons of even the most well-read literati. This year, Artistic Director Terrence O’Brien and his professional cast present Shakespeare’s popular comedy The Taming of the Shrew (opening June 26); the lesser-known romance Troilus & Cressida (opening July 3); and The Bomb-itty of Errors (opening June 16), an award-winning hip hop adaptation of the Bard’s The Comedy of Errors.
Richard Ercole in Pericles
“With the comedies, we have 10 shows we cycle through,” explains O’Brien. “It’s my third time through a production of Taming of the Shrew, and each time I have a different perspective. I’m 10 years older, my kids are 10 years older — I see things that I didn’t see before. And the same is true with our audience. Since many of them have been with us for years, they can see how the production differs. The linchpin of our history is the comedies we cut our teeth on; they’ve become the thing people look to us for. I feel like it’s our job as a company to do things less familiar, expand for the audience Shakespeare’s lesser-known works.” Pericles and Cymbeline are two such works that have been produced in recent seasons. Troilus & Cressida — which O’Brien says is a “really interesting drama that shares many similarities to Romeo & Juliet, except that Troilus and Cressida are in their 20s and more experienced” — promises to be as well-received.
Pushing the envelope even further is The Bomb-itty of Errors, which “is a remarkably accurate rendition, and very funny,” O’Brien says. Performed by only four actors and a deejay, this “ad-rap-tation” of Shakespeare’s most farcical comedy has already been produced off-Broadway and at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. It was just a few seasons ago that the HVSF added a third play to its schedule; the slot usually is reserved for smaller, quirky adaptations like Bomb-itty. “Economically speaking, the fact that it has a small cast allows us to add a third play without going to the poorhouse,” says O’Brien. “And it’s good for us to do things that appeal to a younger audience, who then may come back and see other plays.”
In addition to the opening of Troilus & Cressida, O’Brien looks forward to seeing his company in action once again. “I think I have a really interesting acting company. For the last few years I’ve worked with the same people. This year we’re adding three people we haven’t worked with before. It’s exciting to get a new infusion of ideas.” And as always, he is eager to see how audiences react to the program. “I just like seeing how people respond to what we’re doing. When people are relaxed they’ll say things about what they’ve seen in a really genuine way, and [the environment we create] is conducive to that.”
This year, the HVSF also takes part in a series at the Depot Theater in Garrison called In Process. “Company members will be doing readings and things off the main stage. It will give me, and the community, an opportunity to see familiar people do new things. And it gives us a chance to see how people respond to what we do,” enthuses O’Brien. Event information will be available on the organization’s Web site (845-265-9575).