The Jersey City based Hudson Shakespeare Company (HSC) is taking audiences on a journey to new worlds.
This traveling company is tackling one of the least performed plays of old Will with their production of Two Noble Kinsmen.
The two main characters (Arcite and Palamon) are life-long friends who are brought to a duel over a woman they both love. The play was actually Shakespeare's last play before his death, and was a collaboration with protégé John Fletcher. HSC plans to enthrall audiences with a shortened two-hour version of this classic take on love gone wrong. So grab a blanket and prepare yourself for a magical night of theater under the stars in your town. Love gone wrong
According to Artistic director Jon Ciccarelli, Kinsmen is sort of a sequel to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. It begins with the same characters two days after the wedding reception from Midsummer. Yet the plot of Kinsmen is not just straight comedy; it is more of a tragic-comedy. The characters have very realistic things to deal with, like their lives getting interrupted by war. Real life interferes with marriage. In addition, Kinsmen gets even more complicated with the star-crossed lovers in the play. But they aren't the only characters suffering from heartache. The jailer's daughter is in love with Palamon, yet Palamon refuses her even after she helps him escape prison. Chatty men
Ciccarelli said that this play is interesting because it plays around with character traits. "The females are usually chatty, but here is the reverse. The guys are chatty," said Ciccarelli. "They are like family to each other. When they start pining for the same woman, it all goes downhill from there. They are friends who become enemies." In addition to the love themes, Kinsmen also has a dance number and a supernatural element to it. The play runs for two hours and should keep audiences entertained with the fast pace and interesting staging. "The show is done completely in the round," said Ciccarelli. "We will be coming out of the audience and we have entrances coming from the left and the right." Traveling players
The HSC is one of Hudson County's longest running theater companies. They began performing in 1992. Now entering their 16th season, the company has attracted the attention of other towns, who have requested performances by this seasoned company. Artistic director Ciccarelli has been with the company for 10 years. In addition to directing, Ciccarelli also acts in productions. According to Ciccarelli, for the summer season HSC usually includes a few favorites (like this years' Romeo and Juliet) and one obscure production that audiences wouldn't be familiar with like Two Noble Kinsmen, which is rarely performed. They just closed Merchant Of Venice, which drew large crowds, including over 110 people for a recent performance in Frank Sinatra Park. Ciccarelli attributes the success of HSC to their flexibility. "If something is not working or isn't getting an audience response," said Ciccarelli, "we will either drop it or see if we can do something differently." He added, "We are constantly trying to refine [the shows]. From an artistic perspective, we try to keep it fresh. "We try not to do the same 16 plays that everyone does, but at the same time you have to have a hook." The players
For this show, there are 12 actors, some of who are playing dual roles. According to Ciccarelli, many of the actors trained at esteemed HB Studios or Tisch in New York. Typically, an actor works with HSC for two years. David Sewell is the director for Two Noble Kinsmen. Sewell has worked with HSC before, directing As You Like It and as an actor in A Few Good Men, for which he gave a terrific performance as the prosecutor. The cast and crew have been rehearsing the play since Memorial Day. Ciccarelli is performing two parts in Kinsmen, a young guy and an older character, which he said is challenging. "With outdoor theater, you don't have the luxury of hiding," said Ciccarelli. "Sometimes you have a quick change." Ciccarelli said that to distinguish the difference in the characters, it translates into how he quickly or slowly he moves. Performing the lead characters in the show are: Tim Eliot as Palamon, Tyler Neale as Arcite, and Phoebe Halkowich as Princess Emilia. Other actors in the show include: Oliver Conant, Ricky Johnston, Sarah Sirota, Cherish Duke, Sarah Walsh, Mia Anderson, and Gary Ferrar. And...
Two Noble Kinsmen will be performed throughout Hudson County from July 9 to July 23. (Please see sidebar for dates, times, and locations.) In addition, HSC will perform Romeo and Juliet and Medea as part of their summer season. All performances will take place unless there is heavy rain. The performances in Hoboken were made possible by the city of Hoboken, Cultural Affairs, Mayor David Roberts, and other generous sponsors. For more information, visit: www.hobokennj.org. HSC performs theater all year. For more information or for additional summer dates outside Hudson County, visit: www.hudsonshakespeare.org. HSC SUMMER SHOWS
"Two Noble Kinsmen"
July 12 - Ellsworth Park, Union City, 8 p.m. July 16 - Shipyard Park, Hoboken, 7 p.m. July 23 - Sinatra Park, Hoboken, 7 p.m. "Romeo & Juliet"
July 30 - Shipyard Park, Hoboken, 7 p.m. Aug. 2 - Ellsworth Park, Union City, 8 p.m. Aug. 6 - Sinatra Park, Hoboken, 7 p.m. Aug. 13 - Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, 7 p.m. "Medea"
Aug. 20 - Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, 7 p.m. Aug. 21 - Sinatra Park, Hoboken, 7 p.m. Aug. 22 - Shipyard Park, Hoboken, 7 p.m. Comments on this piece can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.