Shakespeare to return to Agawam Park - 27 East

Arts & Living

Arts & Living / 1377277

Shakespeare to return to Agawam Park

icon 1 Photo

author on Jul 18, 2008

Shakespeare is returning to Agawam Park in Southampton Village next week with a free performance of the bard’s “Twelfth Night.”

The one-night engagement will be much more low-key than the extravagant Hamptons Shakespeare Festival that offered productions in Agawam Park and Montauk until two years ago, but that’s the way director Jason Marr wants it.

“The aim is to keep it very simple, so ultimately it is the play itself that is center stage,” the director said in a recent interview.

Mr. Marr, who also directed the Hampton Theatre Company’s recent production of “Moon Over Buffalo,” said that having minimal sets and props makes it easy for his Hip to Hip Theatre Company to take the play from venue to venue and expand Shakespeare’s reach.

He co-founded Hip to Hip with his wife, Joy, last year to bring a free Shakespeare in the Park program to his Queens neighborhood. The company performed “As You Like It” in two Queens parks.

“It was just amazing to have people in the audience who were adults but also little kids sitting around the perimeter of the stage who were just thoroughly enjoying themselves,” Mr. Marr said.

The community’s enthusiasm gave him and his wife the courage to try to expand the program and find more park venues, he said.

They decided on Agawam Park after falling in love with the area while staying with Anne Marie Carr, a Hampton Theatre Company patron who hosted the couple in Southampton during the spring productions of the last two years. Mr. Marr described his hostess as a “wonderful supporter of the arts in the Hamptons.”

Ms. Carr also pointed the couple in the direction of the Southampton Village Board, which approved the performance on Thursday, July 31, with a rain date of Saturday, August 2.

The 90-minute adaptation of “Twelfth Night” is designed to be accessible to everyone, Mr. Marr said. While many people have the impression that Shakespeare plays are for the literary class and English majors only, the reality is that the bard was writing his plays for the ordinary person, the director said.

“We want our plays to be the kind of plays that everybody can enjoy, and everybody can understand and have access to,” he said.

Mr. Marr said “Twelfth Night” will be particularly fun for everyone because it has high-jinx, sword fights and songs. “It’s probably one of Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedies.”

The story starts with a shipwreck. Viola, the main character, washes ashore thinking her twin brother, Sebastian, is dead. But Sebastian also survived the wreck, and he assumes his sister is dead. Alone in a pirate town, Viola poses as a man to ensure her safety. Under the name Cesario, Viola takes a job as a page for Duke Orsino. She falls in love with the duke, but the duke uses “Cesario” as his intermediary with his love, Lady Olivia. Making things even more complicated, Olivia falls in love with Viola, thinking her to be a man.

Viola also encounters a merry group of tricksters, who play several pranks during the course of the play, Mr. Marr added. “Some of Shakespeare’s silliest setups go hand-in-hand with some of his most poetic outpourings of the heart.”

It will be Mr. Marr’s first time directing the play, though he and his wife acted in it twice before. “My wife and I actually met doing ‘Twelfth Night’ back in 1996,” he said. That was at the Porthouse Theatre, outside Cleveland, Ohio. The second time was with the Ohio Shakespeare Festival, which they helped found in 2001. The Marrs spent five summers with that festival playing lead roles, but they settled in Long Island City when they decided they wanted to have a baby, Mr. Marr said.

That’s also when they decided to venture out on their own and form Hip to Hip. “The phrase ‘hip to hip’ is pulled right out of Shakespeare’s ‘Comedy of Errors’” Mr. Marr explained. The couple also chose it because it conjures the idea of collaboration, he said—collaboration among the actors, director and the playwright.

Theater is also a celebration of community, he added, expressing his hope that the performance in Agawam Park will be an excuse for everyone to get together as they once did for the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival.

Mr. Marr said that it was a shame that the festival ended, but their exit provided a golden opportunity for Hip to Hip.

While the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival had a $200,000 budget, Mr. Marr said Hip to Hip runs on a shoestring. It relies on private donations, he said, and Wickshaw Productions and Woodside On The Move have been the principal supporters.

Though they don’t even set up a platform stage—they perform right on the grass with a simple canopy—Hip to Hip will have full costumes from the Theatre Development Fund Costume Collection in New York City. The troupe also features very accomplished actors too, Mr. Marr said, and the performance has the blessing of the Actor’s Equity Association, the stage actors’ union.

Hip to Hip will perform “Twelfth Night” on Thursday, July 31, at 7 p.m. at Agawam Park in Southampton Village. The rain date is Saturday, August 2. Admission is free.

You May Also Like:

STYLEHAMPTON: À-Tout-Àge Fashion Veteran Denise Johnston’s Burgeoning Brand

It’s not a new story: a woman with unique personal style comes to the realization ... 10 Aug 2020 by Steven Stolman

Neo-Political Cowgirls Boost Arts, Advocacy with Andromeda’s Sisters

Florencia Lozano recently found herself questioning what she always took for granted: books and articles ... by Michelle Trauring

The Story He Is – Roger Rosenblatt’s Writing Life

“Writing makes justice desirable, evil intelligible, grief endurable, and love possible.” – Roger Rosenblatt (from ... by Annette Hinkle

Life Drawing With Linda Capello

The Education Department of the Parrish Art Museum announced that teaching artist Linda Capello’s popular ... by Staff Writer

Backyard Theater At Guild Hall

Guild Hall is pleased to inaugurate the John Drew Backyard Theater (JDBT), a space in ... by Staff Writer

Ed Smith’s Reflections

The BCK Fine Arts Gallery @Montauk is pleased to present its third exhibition of the season, and its first show of the works of sculptor Ed Smith. In “Reflections: Recent Works by Ed Smith,” the artist presents a collection of bronze torsos, small bronze figures, small terra cotta figures and torsos along with monographs and drawings, depicting both his process and versatility. Throughout his career, Ed Smith has been known for his portrayal of the “heroic ideal.” His inspiration is drawn from the Classical Period of Greece, the Golden Age; a time period which drew its heroes and code of ... by Staff Writer

Present Tense: Black Lives Matter(ed)

“Africaville,” a powerful debut novel by Jeffrey Colvin, tells the story of the black experience ... by Staff Writer

Let’s Hit The Drive-in!

Sag Harbor Cinema’s Drive-in series continues at Havens Beach with films every Sunday night that ... by Staff Writer

Outdoor Music at Bay Street

Bay Street Theater has opened its outdoor patio and bar to the public five days a week — Thursdays through Mondays — from 1 to 8 p.m. daily, with live music performed outdoors (weather permitting) by local artists. The bar menu includes snacks and drinks, as well as Bay Street Theater face coverings and water bottles. All funds go to support Bay Street Theater, its artists, and staff. The theater itself remains closed due to COVID-19 government regulations, so all purchases are greatly appreciated. Drink specials on Bay Street Theater’s Patio Bar menu include the Mojo Mojito (rum, lime, and ... by Staff Writer

Mountainfilm In The Great Outdoors At SAC

Mountainfilm on Tour Southampton returns to the Southampton Arts Center again this year, with films ... by Staff Writer

Welcome to our new website!

To see what’s new, click “Start the Tour” to take a tour.

We welcome your feedback. Please click the
“contact/advertise” link in the menu bar to email us.

Start the Tour
Landscape view not supported