No need to head out of town this summer to get your fix of Shakespeare (the bard, not the pizza) . Columbia, Missouri has three productions by two different theatre companies running this month.
5th Wall Productions starts it with a doubleheader of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged on July 7th. This is 5th Wall’s third year of doing Shakespeare shows. They’re a recent upstart in the Columbia community theatre scene, and that’s giving them leeway to find their own niche. Capitalizing on both the talent the city offers and the abundance of free venues, 5th Wall will be performing both of at the Boone County Courthouse Ampitheatre.
While Midsummer’s popular comedic tale of a troupe of actors being manipulated by fairies set against the marriage of Athenianroyalty is well known, many may not be familiar with the Abridged. This parody features three actors performing the entire works of Shakespeare in an abbreviated time. It was well received when 5th Wall performed it two years ago. With a strong cast of Chris Bowling, Tom Philips and Aaron Hunsley, this promises to be a fun production allowing the cast to improvise many
Finally, on July 15th, Maplewood Barn Community Theatre starts it third production of the summer with The Merchant of Venice. In this play the bard, famous for creating more than 2,000 English words and phrases, first used the phrase ‘flesh and blood’ and famously popularized the saying ‘all that glisters is not gold‘. The Barn is no stranger to producing Shakespeare plays as doing so is their annual tradition.
All three of these productions are performed outdoors. While that does mean you have to battle the bugs and the heat, it also means you can bring your own food, including alcohol, and enjoy a picnic as you enjoy the festivities.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, (July 7-24th) plays Thursdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 6:00pm. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (July8-24) plays Fridays at 6:30pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 4:00pm. Both productions are “pay-what-you-will” performances. http://www.5thwallproductions.com/
The Merchant of Venice (July 15-31) plays Fridays through Saturdays at 8:00pm. Tickets may be purchased at the door (well, tent) and are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and $1 for children 10 and under. http://www.maplewoodbarn.com/