Shakespeare in Clark Park Performs AS YOU LIKE IT with Free Community Workshops

Performances run July 24-28.

By: Jun. 18, 2024
Shakespeare in Clark Park Performs AS YOU LIKE IT with Free Community Workshops
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Shakespeare in Clark Park will return this summer with an updated classic and expanded community involvement. From July 24-28, 2024 at 7 p.m. the popular theater company will present outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It,” with contemporary and creative innovations, including input from participants in a series of community poetry workshops. 

A celebration of poetry and community is the focus of this show, directed by Ontaria Kim Wilson. Professional Philadelphia actors take the stage along with community performers, and an original anthem has been created by local composer and community music leader, Pax Ressler. Wilson was born and raised in Philadelphia and lived through the ongoing shifts and displacement of community, a theme that is central to her interpretation of “As You Like It,” which is often simplified to a love story. Wilson’s  experience is essential to  the production, in the bodies we see onstage, and how the lead character, Rosalind, actively hides her identity to survive in a world where she was once celebrated. 

Wilson approaches the piece with her signature lens and a specific setting. “Arden, Delaware Circa 2034. Delaware is the country's first state, and the Forest of Arden has been deemed a place of exile, simplicity, and lack. But it is there where the exiled experience the true essence of humanity. They are forced to grapple with their self-imposed desires, deferred dreams, preconceived notions, and twisted perspectives on what love is and what love does. Can this newfound sense of community, love, and freedom permeate throughout the country, or will we forever be under the armed hand of dystopianism? Can love truly conquer all?”

“As You Like It” will be performed in the grassy, open air bowl in Clark Park, with opportunities for picnicking.  The  Annenberg Center at the University of Pennsylvania is the indoor venue in the event of inclement weather.

Before the performances, Shakespeare in Clark Park is hosting free community poetry workshops curated by local poet and Resident Teaching Artist Warren Longmire, each focusing on different aspects of the work and a larger conversation about which voices are lifted up and how that can  evolve. The workshops are free and culminate in pre-show poetry shares on the opening and closing performances on  July 24 and 28, 2024.  The poems people create  will also be incorporated into the onstage design of the production.


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