In the Victorian era, William Shakespeare's Venus & Adonis was deemed unacceptable entertainment, too scandalous for production. The poem never enjoyed popularity on the stage again.
Now New York's Shakespeare Project brings a world premiere puppet version of the comic poem to eight city parks June 22-Aug. 13, continuing the company's mission of bringing the Bard to the young, the underprivileged and those who have never been to a theatre.
In the 1593 epic satirizing 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.
The 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.
June 22-25: Fort Tryon Park at the Cloisters, Manhattan
June 29-July 2: St. Albans Park, St. Albans, Queens
July 6-9: Battery Park City at the Oval Lawn, Manhattan
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