Our local Shakespeare in the Park troupe, "Shakespeare Alive!" has chosen to alter its 2015-16 season and present slide shows of professional performances of Shakespeare's plays rather than perform the plays themselves live in the Oak Park Pavilion.
Shakespeare Alive! was founded last year by a group of local Shakespeare enthusiasts. At the time, co-founder Hamlet Covington said "We want to bring the poetry and drama of Sir William Shakespeare's works here, live, for the good people of our fair city!" The troupe had scheduled six performances last year but canceled the final three after experiencing various levels of difficulties with the first three shows.
Ophelia Covington, the other co-founder of Shakespeare Alive! and sister to Hamlet, remains in a coma as she has been since last November when she suffered injuries during the second act of King Lear. Great Hope Hospital continues to offer free grief and post traumatic stress disorder counseling to anyone who was in attendance at that performance.
Regarding the changes for the upcoming 2015-16 season, Hamlet Covington said "We have not changed in our desire to bring Shakespeare to more people, more common people, so they can be moved by his words. But, we've had to face the difficult reality that we as a troupe lack the basic skill set to even be able to put on a puppet show, let alone a complete play by Shakespeare."
This season's performances will be slide shows with pictures of scenes from other performances of Shakespeare's works, including movies, Broadway shows, and productions by area high schools. The slide shows will be narrated by the members of Shakespeare Alive!
Lucinda Klingbell, who suffered permanent brain and speech injury last year during Romeo and Juliet, is expected to provide all the animal noises needed for any of the slide performances.
Mayor Michael Felding said that while he remains committed to fostering and growing vibrant local arts programs, the changes made to Shakespeare Alive! would be safer for everyone.