Those who love Shakespeare in the Park but are averse to ticket lotteries or waiting in long lines will likely appreciate The Drilling Company. The organization, which has been producing plays in New York City for 20 years and in Bryant Park for the last five, operates under a guiding principle of accessibility. Any person who wants to come to its summer productions in Bryant Park is welcome, money and space be damned.
This year’s play sticks to that tradition. On September 8, the company is presenting its reimagining of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” with a few major twists: the action is set in the 19th century, the cast is diverse, the witches speak Gaelic and the characters live in New York City’s notorious Five Points neighborhood instead of Scotland. According to Hamilton Clancy, the director of the production, it’s a hybrid between Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” and the familiar Shakespeare tragedy.
“We’ve purposely blended a few roles to focus the play on a story about the inevitable fall of a ruthless tyrant,” Clancy said. “That is something most Americans are rooting for these days.”
Over the last five years, Clancy said that the company’s outdoor productions have bested audience expectations. It’s not uncommon for people to stumble upon the play, likely on their way home from work, and be surprised by what the cast and crew have been able to assemble in the park.
“Doing Shakespeare outdoors in Manhattan is no small hat trick,” Clancy said. “It takes a tremendous amount of planning.”
He added, “But we have been fortunate to develop a core company of actors and actresses who bring with them both a love of Shakespeare and a talent for performing.”
For more details on this event, check the website here. Scroll below for information on other free events happening this week in New York City.
Drag Show and Music Festival
Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, Manhattan
Sept. 9; 1-5 p.m.
MC Tym Moss, writer Michael Musto, Rev Yolanda, Angel Alektra and other local celebrities will star in the Drag Show and Music Festival at Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market on Sunday. Tickets are free, but drinks are not. The event is billed as kid friendly.
“The Eye of Slickboy: Afro-Asian Futurism”
The Storefront Project, Manhattan
Sept. 6; 6-9 p.m.
Writer and art director Milton Washington looks inward for his latest photography exhibition, which focuses on his childhood experiences as a biracial boy living in South Korea and later the United States. Drawing inspiration from his multicultural roots, Washington combines artistic elements present in both West African and South Korean art. The event culminates with a fashion show featuring Korean and black models dressed in designs by Jasmine Shinhyo Park.
Art Opening: Sharilyn Neidhardt’s “Supermassive Black Hole”
Art During the Occupation Gallery, Brooklyn
Sept. 7, 7-9:30 p.m.
Composed mostly of large-scale paintings, Neidhardt’s work is laser focused on the anxieties and stresses caused by late-stage capitalism. The solo-exhibition — the first for Neidhardt at the gallery — will tackle gentrification, the impact of technology on interpersonal relationships and other timely, weighty issues. Neidhardt, herself a victim of gentrification-related displacement, drew from her personal experiences to create the work on display.
Drawing in the Park
South Cove in Battery Park, Manhattan
Sept. 8; 10-12 p.m.
Amateurs and master painters alike are invited to participate in Battery Park’s drawing festivities on the South Cove. This week, an instructor will be on hand to deliver tips and tricks as painters attempt to capture the Hudson River under the summer sun. Watercolors, pastels, chalk and charcoal and other necessary materials will be provided. This event is open to adults only.
Top Image: Courtesy of Scene from The Drilling Company's updated version of "Macbeth," courtesy of The Drilling Company