The Drilling Company will present "The Merry Wives of Windsor" July 12-28 and "Coriolanus" August 2-18 as its 2012 productions of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. All performances will be staged in the Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets, Manhattan.
Both shows are FREE and play Thursdays - Saturdays at 8:00 PM. Subways: F to Delancey Street, walk one block south. For more info call 212-873-9050 or visit www.shakespeareintheparkinglot.com.
Over the years, there have been more than 50 productions of Shakespeare's plays for over 40,000 patrons in the Municipal Parking Lot at Ludlow and Broome Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
The plays are presented in a working parking lot, so you can drive there but you should expect to pay the Muni-meter.
Why a parking lot? The Drilling Company's founding artistic director Hamilton Clancy writes, "It is a tremendously accessible gathering place in the heart of the city. Like most companies that do Shakespeare we are following the spirit of Joseph Papp. But putting our own spin on it by placing it in a parking lot, making an urban wrinkle."
Shows are offered while the lot is in use. The action sometimes happens around a parked car that drives away during a performance. At such times, The Players stop and the audience moves its chairs, pausing the performance the same way a show would stop for rain uptown in Central Park. It's all part of the fun.
Seats are available on a first come first serve basis, with audience members often arriving as early as 7:00 PM to secure a place. You are encouraged and welcome to bring your own chair. Once seats are gone, blankets are spread out.
The productions are typically intrepid, bare-boned adaptations of the classics. For example, in 2010, Hamilton Clancy staged "Julius Caesar" as a battle for control of an urban school system, with women playing Brutus and Cassius. In 2011, director Kathy Curtiss set "The Comedy of Errors" in a pizzeria in Little Italy.
The company stresses that the Parking Lot has now become a versatile theater where it presents its work, not unlike the Globe was to Shakespeare. Hamilton Clancy writes, "We believe the Parking Lot can be a container for a range of directorial interpretations and perspectives. We're in the Parking Lot because it's a great place to present the play, not as a site specific interpretation."
This summer's offerings are supported by the Department for Cultural Affairs and the the New York State Council on the Arts, Con Edison, and the Department of Transportation.
Pictured: Last season's Hamlet. Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation.