Cape Fear Shakespeare celebrates 25 years performing at Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre. The group presents the same two plays that were performed in the first season: A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It. We spoke with Associate Producer Caylan McKay and Director Nick Reed; listen above and read an extended transcript below.
Performances remaining for Midsummer: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, June 20-21. Performances remaining for As You Like It: Saturday and Sunday, June 17-18 & Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, June 23-25. All performances are at Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre at 8:00pm, no tickets required.
Caylan: We’re doing A Midsummer Night's Dream. And the reason why we're doing A Midsummer's Night Dream is because it's one half of the shows that we did 25 years ago in the inaugural season. It's actually it's very cathartic for me because the last time I did Midsummer, I was in high school and all of the small fairies and all the really tiny bit parts they're-- now playing all of the principal characters in the show they're all seniors in high school. One of them actually is in college and came back to do the show. So it's very interesting for me... makes me feel old. But there they actually are doing a better job than my group of kids, than my peers could have ever done at that age and have exceeded every amount of expectations that was set before them.
Gina: And for folks who don't remember, can you give us 20 seconds what is that play about.
Caylan: So it is the essentially a story of a set of lovers in the woods a set of fairies in the woods and a set of rude mechanicals rehearsing for a play in the woods and all three groups somehow manage to get intertwined in this giant love circle, and hilarity ensues.
Gina: And this is the one with some of our favorite Shakespearean characters in popular culture...
Caylan: Like Puck. We have Bottom, he's part of the rude mechanicals who are in the play and he gets turned into a donkey. There's Oberon. King of the fairies. And then his wife Titania who gets some shenanigans happened to her. So you just have to come see the show in order to really experience it.
General picnic seating starts at 6:30 p.m.. We love it when people bring a picnic and share and enjoy the music that we have. Sometimes we have live music on this stage. Up until the play starts the play does start at 8:00 p.m. or maybe a little bit after that when it gives the sun a little bit of time to go down and to get that cooler out there. Both shows are under two hours. We have some mosquito repellent that we share at the concession However you should maybe think about bringing a some Cintronella candles or some bug spray.
Gina: Nick, tell us about As You Like It
Nick: So, similar to A Midsummer Night's Dream, you have a series of lovers that go into the forest. Most of them are banished or run away because of something dangerous that's happening in the court. And our lead is Rosalind, a woman who, for her own protection, dresses up like a man, sees the man that she is in love with, and then convinces that man that the only way to truly understand how to flirt with your love Rosalind is for me- Rosalind pretending to be a man- to pretend to be Rosalind,so that you can then learn how to talk to her. And you have all these other characters that are also falling in love at the same time trying to figure out what makes them happy and in a pretty unusual scenario.
Gina: And you're getting some mentoring from Chris Marino.
Nick: I've worked with Chris Marino quite a few times, I worked with him on Macbeth and Measure for Measure, and I was also in his show Hamlet, so a lot of my directing style comes from how he directs and having his mentorship in any way has been invaluable.
I came in to the rehearsal process and it was very unstructured. I constantly try to throw my actors into more bizarre scenarios so that they're always on their feet and nothing can happen during a show that's going to stop them and completely throw them. Because I remember in years past we've had dogs run up on the stage. We've had horrible weather and we just have to change everything. Sometimes the set would fall over in the past. And so I realized if my actors are prepared for that at any point, then the audience is just going to have fun.
For me my biggest thing was that all the characters they don't know what makes them happy. And most of them are pretty foolish. I think there's not a single serious character in the show. One of the things that I wanted to absolutely do was have Orlando not be the standard leading man. He's really cool until he has to talk to any girl and then he doesn't know how to use his words, and he becomes the uncool person. All the characters are larger than life very strange people and I really wanted to bring out the
elements of all of them that don't make logical sense.
Rosalind is right away on board with dressing up like a man... And she becomes unbelievably strong and it feels like she's way more comfortable as not a girly girl, more of a tomboy character than she ever was at court. And I hope that people take away that these characters are strange, but they're happy so I guess I can't complain.
Gina: And by the way these performances are free…
Caylan: Every single performance is 100 percent free. And if you tell your friends, I will put you on the list for the next show so you can also get in free again.