GRIFFITH PARK FREE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL 2012, the largest summer theater event in the City of Los Angeles, begins its performances June 28 and runs Thursdays through Sundays at 7 p.m. through to September 2. All Performances are free.
This year ISC is offering over 40 nights of programming. In addition to the productions, there are nine PLAYERS IN THE PARK/JUGAMOS EN EL PARQUE pre-show workshops on select evenings. These workshops are an interactive, entertaining way for families to learn about the evening’s performance. There are also these are lectures on topics related to Shakespeare as well as curtain-raising performances by local musicians and dancers.
The festival will open on June 28 with Shakespeare’s rarely-produced romance, The Winter’s Tale, directed by Sanford Robbins. Alongside that are two of his most popular comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (opening Thursday, July 5) and A Comedy of Errors (opening Thursday, August 2), both directed by ISC Artistic Director, Melissa Chalsma who will also take the stage as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“This season an audience can expect to be involved in the action in a really direct way. We strive
to make connections with our audience that are unexpected and engaging. With every
production, we are working to connect not only the actors to the audience, but the audience to
each other,” Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma notes, “The Festival in the park is a great fit for
LA. It’s a theater, yes, but it’s also a place you can stretch out on a blanket, eat, talk to your
neighbor, play Frisbee before the show, tweet about what you thought about Act Three, bring
your kids...it’s this great combination: professional theater in an absolutely informal setting.”
The 2011 season boasted record attendance of more than 25,000, making it the largest summer
theater event in the City of Los Angeles and the largest Shakespeare Festival in Los
Angeles. ISC builds its festival stage at the site of the Old Zoo (near the Carousel), a natural
amphitheater conveniently located next to ample parking.
In addition to the productions, there are nine PLAYERS IN THE PARK/JUGAMOS EN EL
PARQUE pre-show workshops on select evenings. These workshops are an interactive,
entertaining way for families to learn about the evening’s performance. Led by ISC Teaching
Artists, workshop participants learn about Shakespeare’s language, theatrical staging, and what
to look for in the play they will be seeing. They also get to speak lines of dialogue from the
stage, and have a backstage tour and meet the actors.
The Winters Tale (June 28 – July 29) by William Shakespeare
Directed by Sanford Robbins
In Sicilia, all is well. Peace reigns, and the King and Queen are happily expecting a child. But when King Leontes becomes consumed with the thought that his best friend and his wife are betraying him, one misunderstanding spirals into tragedy. Indifferent to the word of the Gods, reason, or natural sentiment, he resigns his wife, son, and unborn child to a dreadful fate.
As the years roll on, however, a very different destiny is evolving on the island of Bohemia. Rustic and wild, it is a place where love prevails and music and humor are rampant. When the two worlds intersect, miracles come to pass.
Shakespeare's great romance challenges our expectations: folding time and genre into a unique work of art that reveals the essential, humane nature of the author.
Scenic design is by Caitlin Lainoff; costumes by Garry Lennon; and lighting by Bosco Flanagan
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (July 5 – September 2) by William Shakespeare
Directed by Melissa Chalsma
In a fantastical Athens surrounded by an enchanted wood, the lines between dreaming and waking are deliciously blurred. As the wedding of Duke Theseus to his captured Amazonian bride approaches, a group of tradesmen rehearse a play celebrate the nuptials. In The Shadows alongside them, the King and Queen of the fairies do battle, lovers succumb to magic and to each other, while forest spirits seek to unravel the mysteries of the human heart.