Like most theater companies, Shakespeare Dallas endured a year of cancellations and lost revenue because of the pandemic; but the company took an even bigger hit during last February’s winter storm.
The resulting deep freeze caused multiple broken pipes at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheater–the company’s home–and caused flooding and major damage to equipment and facilities.
“It was crazy. We thought we were going to be canceling summer and potentially fall. The damage was so severe,” said Raphael Parry, executive & artistic director at Shakespeare Dallas.
“Our public restrooms are completely unheated and every pipe in that building broke. We lost probably another 20 pipes in our dressing rooms. All those pipes broke inside the cinder block walls so we had flood damage in the bunker, we had ruined ceilings, we had broken fixtures. Literally over $500,000 worth of destruction.”
Parry said the group was lucky. The City of Dallas stepped in, hired a contractor and repairs to the facility were made just in time for upcoming summer performances.
After a difficult year, Shakespeare Dallas is ready to welcome audiences back this summer with a series of outdoor, socially distanced, live performances, so get those picnic dinners and blankets ready.
Coming up in June for the 2021 summer season is Hamlet Project, 8 nights of solo performances inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
The original 30-minute monologues were written by playwrights Migdalia Cruz and Erik Ehn. Each writer created their own interpretation of Hamlet. Cruz channels Yorick, the king’s jester in his version, while Ehn uses Shakespearian language from Hamlet for his take. Both of these models will be performed by two different actors each night of the run for a total of 16 actors.
But here’s the spin:
The actors performing each night will only have a very short time to prepare for the show.
“So they get their script of the play that they’re performing and all their props 24-hours in advance And that’s how they prepare,” said Parry. “This makes it a truly unique experience for the audience.”
Besides the Bard, Shakespeare Dallas is teaming up with Front Porch Concerts to bring two nights of local music to the Samuell-Grand Amphitheater this summer. June 18 features jazz standards and classical music performed by Brianne Sargent & Friends String Trio (with Eugen Kim and Alex Moreno). On June 19, Bobby Sparks headlines followed by Cure For Paranoia and The Grays.
And, coming up in July, is The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised], a parody of all of the plays of William Shakespeare performed in comically shortened form by only three actors.
Parry says being back on the stage this summer is significant for both performers and audiences.
“It’s a richer experience, for sure. Having not produced anything live for over a year and a half. It’s very meaningful to get back on the stage or have audiences in our park. For some performers, it’s like their artistic home, so coming back to your artistic home after a long delays is really potent and meaningful. And after a year and a half, I’m certain audiences are going to be anxious to try something new or come back to an old friend like Shakespeare in the Park.”
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