Hip to Hip Theatre Company Returns to Southampton with Free Shakespeare

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Colin Wulff and Kathleen Denecke in Hip to Hip Theatre Company's production of "Twelfth Night."

Hip to Hip Theatre Company has gotten the green light from Actors’ Equity to relaunch its flagship program of “Shakespeare in the Park,” and this weekend it arrives in Southampton’s Agawam Park.

Audiences will have a chance to enjoy Shakespeare’s epic romantic tragedy “Antony & Cleopatra,” directed by Jason Marr, on Friday, August 20, and his brilliant romantic comedy “Twelfth Night,” directed by David Frederick Mold, on Saturday, August 21, under the stars. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. both nights.

Both performances are free and open to the public. Audience members are encouraged to bring a blanket or low chair. No tickets are necessary. Masks are optional for fully vaccinated individuals and required for unvaccinated individuals.

During the darkest days of the pandemic, I reminded myself of the resilience of the theater arts and its creators,” said Marr, Hip to Hip Theatre’s artistic director. “Shakespeare survived three ferocious outbreaks of the bubonic plague: he was an infant during the first; he launched his career as a playwright during the second; and he wrote some of his best plays during the third.

“I knew Hip to Hip would reopen, but I didn’t know when. Then, in mid-June a window of opportunity opened thanks to New York City’s low COVID positivity rate and high percentage of vaccinations,” he added. “New York lifted many restrictions and Actors’ Equity followed suit by reinstating some types of contracts. Working in our favor was the fact that we’d assembled a fully vaccinated company to rehearse and perform strictly out-of-doors. We were approved to start rehearsals on July 10 and we were slated to open on July 28, so that gave us eighteen days to mount two full Shakespeare productions complete with professional actors, sumptuous costumes, sets, lights and sound.”

The cast of this weekend’s production includes” Chaunice Baltitas, Kendall Devin Bell, Kathleen Denecke, Marchael Giles, Erick González, Shonita Joshi, Bree Marr, Jason Marr, Joy Marr, Ima Otto-During and Colin Wulff.

“I love the pairing of ‘Twelfth Night’ with ‘Antony and Cleopatra,’” said Marr. “Both are essentially romances, so taken together, our audience will get just about every possible perspective on the theme of love, from the silly to the sublime. After the past 15 months, I cannot think of a better theme on which to play.”

Now in its 14th year, Hip to Hip is dedicated to providing free, family-friendly, professional productions of popular classics, and free theatre workshops for children, in public spaces. For details visit hiptohip.org.

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