Betrayal, revenge, sex, love. It wouldn’t be Shakespeare without them.
This weekend, the Hip to Hip Theatre Company will return to Agawam Park in Southampton with a fresh slate of free, open-air Shakespeare performances—“Love’s Labour’s Lost” on Friday, August 16, and “The Tempest” on Saturday, August 17.
Founded in 2007 by Queens-based actors Jason and Joy Marr, the young troupe started out by putting on plays in their local neighborhood. It has since grown dramatically into a borough-wide program of “Free Shakespeare in the Park,” which includes two fully produced Shakespeare plays—a comedy and a tragedy—put on in 12 park settings throughout Queens County, Jersey City and in Southampton, drawing an audience upward of 5,000.
The East End program kicks off with one of the great English playwright’s earliest comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s. “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” directed by David Mold, follows the antics of the King of Navarre and his lords Berowne, Longaville and Dumain, who decide to swear off food, women and sleep in order to study for three years. The independent-minded Berowne, who isn’t so keen on the idea, reminds the men that the Princess of France and her three ladies are visiting on business; and all hilarity ensues.
Night two in Agawam Park promises a heavy dose of tragedy with “The Tempest,” directed by Mr. Marr and steeped in themes of redemption, young love and forgiveness. The early 17th-century play is set on a remote island where Prospero, a magician and exiled Duke of Milan, is marooned and plots to restore his daughter, Miranda, to her rightful place using illusion and manipulation by calling upon all the elements of the world to create his magic.
Both 90-minute performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Bring blankets, chairs and picnic fare. For more information, visit hiptohip.org.