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Arts Watch: Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot tackles Coriolanus

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L-R: Paul Guskin (Menenius Agrippa), Arash Mokhtar (Coriolanus), Andrew Start (Tullus Aufidius), Sara Oliva (Sicinius). Photo by Jonathan Slaff via shakespeareintheparkinglot.com.

If you missed Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot’s  first production this summer, never fear. Beginning Thursday, you’ll be able to kick back in your favorite lawn chair for an al fresco retelling of Coriolanus, in the Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets.

Written by Shakespeare around 1608, Coriolanus is based on the legendary, vengeful 5th century B.C. Roman hero Caius Marcius, who single handedly defeated Rome’s most hated enemies, but after being branded a traitor by his fellow patricians for his unpopular words about the ‘common people,’ is forced to leave Rome.

The Drilling Company’s adaptation transports our hero to modern times, and takes place, according to their website, “during an election year, when money can buy power and working class citizens feel threatened by a dwindling patrician class who are seeking to solidify their political power by manipulating political figures.”

Praised for his success as a warrior, this Coriolanus, played by Arash Mokhtar, has the potential to be a leader but is completely out of touch with the every day citizen’s experience of hunger and joblessness.

Director Hamilton Clancy notes, “We chose the play, first and foremost because of the strong conflict between the rich and the poor and the political fervor of the citizenry. It reminded us of the Occupy This movement. We thought that an election year was the time to present a story about a candidate trying to connect to the people.”

With cars coming and going, action taking place around parked cars (which have been known to drive away during a performance) plastic chairs available on a first come first serve basis (people are encouraged to bring their own) and curious passersby joining the audience, this outdoor Shakespeare is pure LES.

Thursday – Saturday // 8pm // Free // Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome

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