A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Life section of The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park plans first Paseo play
The company will stage the comedy “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” in its new Paseo space as well as at The Paramount Theatre on Film Row.
Although the madcap antics of the wacky fishermen got children giggling, it was the singing of the sea shanty “Blood Red Roses” that drew a couple dozen visitors to the landing to watch the cast of Shakespeare in the Park’s “Pericles” perform highlights from one of The Bard’s lesser-known adventures.
When the pirate kidnappers could barely get up the stairs with their damsel in distress, it was a sign that Shakespeare in the Park’s first First Friday Gallery Walk in the Paseo Arts District was a success.
“It’s been great. I mean, we have to explain to people that we’re not a gallery, but we’re a performance gallery,” said Kathryn McGill, executive and artistic director and co-founder of Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park. “On First Fridays, I think we’re just going to do a performance art happening.”
The professional theater company, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary season, just moved into 2920 Paseo, the former home of Paseo Originals Gallery. Although Shakespeare in the Park hopes to eventually remake the former Paseo Plunge building into its permanent home in the historic arts district, the thespians are wasting no time in putting their new spot to good use.
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park will stage “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, 22 and 23 at its new Paseo home, which boasts a downstairs performance space able to seat 50 to 75 people.
The company also will perform the zany comedy by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield at 8 p.m. Friday and Aug. 15 at at The Paramount Theatre on historic Film Row.
“It is very funny, very irreverent. It was actually created by three English majors, and they created this piece about what would it be like if we just tried to do all 37 plays in 90 minutes. And that’s what they do. It’s hysterical,” McGill said.
“This is all new. We didn’t know we would have this space … so that’ll be our first test-drive, so to speak.”
Wil Rogers will co-star and direct the three-man show along with Paul Mitchell and Joshua T. McGowen. The trio will be armed with an outrageous assortment of outerwear and props for the fast-paced, family-friendly romp.
The company was looking for a new home after it lost its previous office space at the Fred Jones Assembly Plant, which is being redeveloped into a 21c Museum Hotel. Robbie Kienzle, a veteran assistant city planner, put McGill in contact with Paseo Arts Associaton President Joy Reed Belt, who helped the theater group make the move.
“I love the new space. I cannot wait to use it on a daily basis,” said “Pericles” director Caprice Woosley, who also is the company’s dramaturge and does all the research into its productions.
“If you’d seen the phases of everything they’ve gone through with losing the stage (in Edmond) twice to a fire and then losing Stage Center to a flood and now losing the Fred Jones to a hotel, this is really exciting.”
Along with staging “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” the company is using its new Paseo digs to rehearse for its final outdoor production of the season, “Macbeth,” which it will perform Sept. 11-27 at the Myriad Gardens Water Stage.
“Now that we have this space, we’re going to use it to death,” McGill said. “We don’t have to worry about where to rehearse and where to perform. We’ve got this now, and it is a blessing.”
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park’s ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)’
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Aug. 15.
Where: The Paramount Theatre on historic Film Row, 7 N Lee.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, 22 and 23.
Where: Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park on Paseo, 2920 Paseo.