At the Park with Shakespeare
The Reisterstown Theatre Project's "Shakespeare in the Park" series is under way at Hannah More Park with "Comedy of Errors."
Weekends at Hannah More Park are usually for riding bikes, roller-skating, and picnics. But thanks to the latest production of the Reisterstown Theatre Project, Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors,” locals can see a fun and light-hearted theatrical production at the park while enjoying the summer breeze.
Directed by Richard Peck, this summer’s production of “Comedy of Errors” is silly and entertaining. One of Shakespeare’s earliest plays (if not the earliest) is a tale of a master Antipholus (played by Daniel Douek) and his servant, Dromio (played by Melainie Eiffert), from the town of Syracuse, coming to the town of Ephesus.
Little do they know, that there is an identical master and servant, of the same names, Antipholus of Ephesus (played by Jenn Mikulski), and his servant Dromio of Ephesus (Joel Loukus), who they become confused for on their journey.
This past Sunday’s matinee was graced with great weather and lull in the recent heat wave. The stage was set in a grove of trees between the park and the baseball fields. As nonsensical as the play, the production confused both time and gender. Costumes were a mix of Asian, Greek, western, and Elizabethan, and men and women swapped roles. Although Antipholus and Dromio were male roles, Jenn Mikulski and Melainie Eiffert were cast.
“The play seemed sort of surreal,” said Director Richard Peck. “I like to mix it up.”
This was Peck’s debut as director, although he has acted in many productions in the area, including the Vagabond Players, as well as the Strand Theater Company and the Creative Alliance. But Peck wasn’t entirely solo on his first endeavor as director.
“I got a lot of good help from the cast and Kathy McCrory, the assistant director,” he said. “She was the bad cop, I was the good cop.”
The production was a group effort of all kinds, from the cast to technical director Bob Frank and producer June Frank, who put up the set every night, and donated the use of their home for rehearsals.
“The company is community-based. We like to give people a chance to get involved,” said Mr. Frank.
A large amount of the experience was a learning process for the cast and crew alike. Actress Denise Loukus, who played a merchant and Angelo, designed costumes, and actress Jessica Ruth Baker, who played a courtesan, stepped up to do makeup.
“This was a great application of what I learned at UMBC,” said Baker. “I’ve never had to work with natural light before. It’s a new experience everyday.”
Although Baker hails from Silver Spring, she was able to carpool to rehearsals with cast members Joel and Denise Loukus, who were commuting to Reisterstown from Columbia.
“I don’t think there should be a limit on how far you can go to do theater,” said Baker.
The Reisterstown Theatre Project has been putting on “Shakespeare in the Park,” and other productions for four years. The group meets several times a year, and meetings and auditions are open to community. The group will be putting on both “The Fantasticks” as well as “The Music Man” in the next year.
“Comedy of Errors” will be performed Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. though Saturday August 13th. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students, seniors, and children, free for 5 and under.
Go to www.reisterstowntheatreproject.com for more information.