Shakespeare in the Parking Lot: Much Ado About Nothing
Honestly? I was more excited about seeing The Drilling Company's take on Romeo and Juliet this summer, which they performed in their usual Lower East Side municipal parking lot in July. Scheduling didn't allow us to get there, however, so last weekend Bo, Co and I were instead treated to their Much Ado About Nothing: broadly played, loud and slapsticky, at times giggly, groanably funny and, for no discernible reason, set during NYC's Fleet Week.
Hamilton Clancy and Dana Stamp were good in last year's production of As You Like It, and they were good again this year as Benedick and Beatrice. And Brad Coolidge was a pleasure to watch as Claudio. Also fun are the frantic scene changes and entrances and exits through the audience; the very occasional but well-timed updating of the script's allusions; and the smoky renditions of such jazzy classics as Fever sung by Jennifer Alfaro-Martinez between acts.
As for the play itself, well... I'm certainly not going to "review" William Shakespeare, but let's just say that all three of us though the comedy aptly titled. Or, as Bo remarked about one particularly pointless sequence, "the whole scene has nothing to do with plot, it's just him saying 'how to be a policeman' a million different ways."
A few things more things you should know about the Shakespeare in the Parking Lot shows:
1. They're free. There are no reservations or tickets... you just show up.
2. You should get there at least 45 minutes early to get a chair, or bring your own... or, if you like, you can arrive any time and sit on a thin straw mat on asphalt for two-plus hours, or stand in the back.
3. The space is a functioning parking lot, and cars can and do drive in and out during the performance.
4. People walking by on Ludlow Street and living in the buildings around you are by no means going to turn down their music and keep quiet just because you want to watch some Shakespeare.
5. You can bring whatever sorts of food and beverages you'd like to enjoy before and during the show.
6. The whole thing works, it's a great way to spend a New York City midsummer's night, and Bo, Co and I will definitely be back again next year.
The final three performances of Much Ado About Nothing will be performed this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 16 - 18, at 8:00. The parking lot is located on Ludlow Street between Delancey and Broome.