Present Company Theatre’s performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing opened last weekend and exceeded my expectations.
For those not familiar with Present Company, it’s a non-profit theater collective that makes theater fun and accessible to everyone. Instead of performing within the confines of four walls, the group brings art to “the heart of the community: the marketplace,” says actor Jennifer Coy. After all, everything is better when done outdoors: eating, drinking, watching movies and even theater.
April marks Shakespeare’s 450th birthday and, while the idea of going to watch a live performance may seem daunting to those who haven’t watched Shakespeare since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio, Present Company is a group of extremely talented individuals who make Shakespeare fun and entertaining.
There is even a pre-show that will teach you just enough about the man, iambic pentameter, and modern-day idiomatic phrases from Shakespearean plays that you won’t feel ignorant or lost.
Theater isn’t supposed to be fun, right? It’s supposed to be boring and expensive. But there I was, having a picnic and experiencing a top-rated performance outdoors…having fun. I felt like I was cheating.
The two-hour performance comes complete with a house band to set the mood. I asked guitarist and percussionist Jason Silverberg what it was like working with the theater company and he couldn’t speak highly enough about their talent. “I feel like I understand a foreign language now,” Silverberg told me.
And he’s right. The actors make the language easy to understand through their movements and by interjecting everyday slang into the performance. You’ll even get to hear some Bryan Adams. Present Company’s love for acting and Shakespeare comes through in their energetic performance and their enthusiasm is infectious. You’ll feel like you’re a part of the play.
Shakespeare at the Market runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening through May 11th on the rooftop of Whole Foods Market. Performances are free, although donations of $10-20 are strongly encouraged to help support the non-profit. And trust me, you’ll want to support this group. Present Company Theatre makes Shakespeare accessible to everyone and offers friends and family a unique way to get together and enjoy something new. This would make for a great date night.
Be sure to get there early, grab some food and drinks and settle in as performances start promptly at 7 PM. There are chairs, as well as areas to place blankets or yoga mats if you bring one. I promise, you will be sure to have a smile on your face the entire time.
Does Shakespeare at the Market sound like fun to you?