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Free Outdoor Shakespeare Plays Coming to Long Island City This Month

A Woodside-based production company will perform two free outdoor Shakespeare plays in Long Island City this month. An image of a scene from the Adventures of Pericles, pictured. (Photo provided by Hip to Hip Theater Company)

Aug. 3, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

A Woodside-based production company is bringing two free outdoor Shakespeare plays to Long Island City.

The Hip to Hip Theater Company will host the shows at Gantry Plaza State Park on Aug. 6 and 13, with both plays beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The first play will be a performance of Shakespeare’s epic romance The Adventures of Pericles. The play is being directed by Jason Marr, who founded the Hip to Hip Theater Company in 2007 with his wife Joy.

The second show will be the English playwright’s romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

The events are free and open to the public. No tickets are required, and attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs.

Attendees at a previous play

The plays are part of a series of shows taking place throughout the borough this month called Free Shakespeare in the Parks.

The series, now in its 15th year, will feature nine performances in total in Queens with plays also being held at public parks in Long Island City, Astoria, Bayside, Flushing and Fresh Meadows.

The Adventures of Pericles, tells the story of a young prince who leaves home to escape death.

He then sets sail on an odyssey of romance and spectacle only to seemingly lose his daughter and wife. Years later he returns home and reunites with his family.

Jason says The Adventures of Pericles is a wild and experimental play by Shakespeare, who was born in 1564 and died in 1616.

“The play’s central message of keeping hope alive in the midst of unfortunate circumstances has particular resonance today,” Jason said.

Meanwhile, Much Ado About Nothing explores a plot to break up one couple and to make two other protagonists fall in love.

The play Joy said, is an original romantic comedy and yet seems contemporary.

“With themes of wit, honor, power, gossip, and even toxic masculinity, the play stands as a testament to what we gain as individuals when we allow ourselves to love and be loved,” Joy said.

The Hip to Hip Theater Company was founded by Jason and Joy with the goal of promoting the theatre arts, particularly the works of Shakespeare, in local communities.

This year the company will also perform at parks in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island and Jersey City. The company also provides theatre workshops for children.

Free Shakespeare in the Parks is funded, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

An image of a scene from Much Ado About Nothing (Photo provided by Hip to Hip Theater Company)

. An image of a scene from The Adventures of Pericles (Photo provided by Hip to Hip Theater Company)

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