By Enrico Espada
Now in its third year, Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park returns with another free, outdoor, all-ages production: “The Tempest”, Shakespeare’s tale of magic and redemption.
Founded in 2014, Pittsfield Shakespeare’s first production, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was seen by over 1,500 people at Springside Park. Last year, the company moved to the newly renovated performance pavilion on the First Street Common with a production of “Romeo and Juliet”. Thanks to the central and easily accessible location more than 3,500 saw that second production, proving an appetite for free outdoor productions in the Berkshires.
Each year, Pittsfield Shakespeare’s production features a large, multigenerational cast of about twenty local professionals and youth actors sharing the stage. Young characters written by Shakespeare are played by young actors—including lead roles like Romeo and Juliet, played by teenagers in PSP’s 2015 production.
PSP’s shows are geared towards families. In every audience after opening night, you’ll find people who have already seen the show, back for a second helping. Parents can bring their kids night after night to soak in the story and the language and really get to know the characters. Seeing a Shakespeare play multiple times makes experts even out of the most inexperienced theatergoer.
Featuring Berkshire actor Glenn Barrett (a veteran of Shakespeare & Company, Barrington Stage, and more) as Prospero, “The Tempest” takes place on a magical island inhabited by spirits and monsters and two humans, castoffs from society: a wizard and his daughter. It’s a story of love, power, and revenge…or forgiveness.
Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park is made possible through the support of individuals and Berkshire businesses dedicated to access to the arts for all. Berkshire Money Management is the lead sponsor, with additional support from Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Gas, Greylock Federal Credit Union, the Feigenbaum Foundation, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the Zion Lutheran Church, Qualprint, Shakespeare & Company and Limelight Productions.
“The Tempest” opens July 21 and runs for twelve performances, Thursdays through Sundays at 8pm, ending August 7. Performances take place at the First Street Common in Pittsfield, located next to the Zion Lutheran Church. Admission is free.