For a traveling show like the Shakespeare Project's Venus & Adonis, the company must feel like it's opening every time it moves somewhere new. This puppet retelling of William Shakespeare's famous epic poem will have an official opening July 9 in its final performance at Manhattan's Battery Park City at the Oval Lawn.
The production will then continue on to five more city parks through Aug. 13. The eight-park tour began June 22.
In the 1593 epic satirization of romantic poetry, the love goddess Venus falls for the handsome Adonis, but finds all her seductive wiles thwarted by the young man. The poem, by the playwright of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth, would be his most popular work during his lifetime. In the Victorian era, however, the poem was deemed unacceptable entertainment, too scandalous for production. It never enjoyed popularity on the stage again.
Venus & Adonis' puppets were designed and constructed by Suzanne Savoy under the guidance of puppet master Ralph Lee. Manipulating her creations are Bret Csencsitz, Nanette Dewester, Carrie Heitman, David Logan Rankin, Christopher Roberts and Christi Spain-Savage.
Dawn Buckholz, who performed and composed with Philip Glass, John Cage and Sting, performs her own original score. The Venus & Adonis schedule follows:
July 13-16: Central Park at the Shakespeare Garden, Manhattan
July 20-23: Van Cortlandt Park at the Van Cortlandt House Museum, the Bronx
July 27-30: Fort Green Park at the Top of the Park, Fort Green, Brooklyn
Aug. 3-6: St. Nicholas Park at 135 Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, Harlem
Aug. 10-13: Sakura Park at 122 Street and Riverside Drive, Upper Manhattan
All performances are free. For up-to-date information on locations and other Shakespeare Project news, call (212) 387-2051.
-- By Christine Ehren