For the 9th consecutive year, Hip to Hip Theatre Company is coming to the Hamptons to present two gala performances of its celebrated program, Free Shakespeare in the Park. Taking place at Southampton’s Agawam Park, the family-friendly productions will kickoff with “The Merchant of Venice” on Friday, August 14th at 7:30 p.m. The Shakespeare festival will continue on Saturday August 15th at 7:30 p.m. with “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”
Prior to each play, attendees will enjoy Hip to Hip’s free children’s program “Kids & the Classics,” which will begin at 7 p.m. The theatrical show aims to enrich, empower and entertain kids of all ages through a series of entertaining theatre games, teaching the tenets of ensemble playing, and introducing children to the style and language of William Shakespeare’s plays.
“The Merchant of Venice,” Shakespeare’s darkest comedy, explores bigotry, justice, and the limitations of the law. When young Venetian gentleman Bassanio squanders away all of his money, but still needs 3,000 ducats to travel to Belmont so he can woo the beautiful heiress Portia, he calls upon his devoted friend Antonio, who helps him by borrowing the cash from the moneylender Shylock. When Antonio is forced to default on the loan, Shylock seeks a gruesome revenge, and Portia and Bassanio find themselves in a desperate struggle to save Antonio’s life.
“The Merry Wives of Windsor” focuses on courtship, jealousy, and friendship. The farce features one of the most beloved comedic characters of all time, Sir John Falstaff, who is banished to Windsor. After running out of money, he devises what he thinks is a guaranteed plan: seduce the wives of the two richest men in town. Unfortunately for Sir Falstaff, the women immediately catch on, and proceed to turn the tables on him. Meanwhile, chaos ensues as three suitors vie to marry the local heiress.
Featured performers include Evangelia Kingsley (Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème and Coram Boy), William Oliver Watkins (Law & Order SVU, Rescue Me), Doug Hendel (Milwaukee Rep, Chicago’s Remy Bumppo Theatre, Ohio Shakespeare Festival), James Harter (Pasadena Playhouse), Chaunice Chapman (Theatreworks USA, TADA! Youth Theatre, Bronx Repertory Theatre), Nestor Garland, Katie Kerr, Erica Nichole Walker, and Hip to Hip company members Kurt Kingsley, Lawryn LaCroix, Jason Marr, Joy Marr and Guy Ventoliere. HTH Association’s Artistic Director David Mold will direct “The Merchant of Venice” and multi-award-winning director Murray McGibbon will direct “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”
All performances are free and open to the public.
For more information, visit www.scc-arts.org.