What do you mean, you’ve never been to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF)? The acting company and directors are brilliant, the interpretations innovative, the productions creatively mounted and intimately delivered, the setting – in a big white tent with a stunning view of the Hudson Highlands – utterly magical. If you’ve yet to take the plunge, Memorial Day is your opportunity to check the place out for free and learn a thing or two about the behind-the-scenes process of bringing Shakespeare and other classic stories to life. HVSF’s 2018 Season Kick-Off, a morning’s worth of free events at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison on Monday, May 28, is the community-friendly introduction to a summer season that will run from June 7 to September 3.
This year’s offerings will include two Shakespeare classics, The Taming of the Shrew (officially opening June 15) and Richard II (June 22), running in repertory alongside David Farr’s adaptation of a beloved cycle of ballads and legends, The Heart of Robin Hood (June 24). If you’re wondering how The Taming of the Shrew can possibly be made to work in the #metoo era, you may be interested to know that HVSF has cast a female actor as the king who ignited the Wars of the Roses in Richard II, and that Maid Marian is the protagonist of The Heart of Robin Hood. Later in the summer comes the world premiere of Seth Bockley’s Rip Van Winkle or, Cut the Old Moon into Stars. (Stay tuned to Almanac Weekly for more on these upcoming shows as the season progresses.)
Starring as Robin Hood’s Marian and as Geertje in Rip Van Winkle is HVSF newcomer Robyn Kerr. This Monday at 10:30 a.m., she will join veteran company member and HVSF associate artistic director Sean McNall in a public discussion of this season’s unifying themes at Boscobel’s Visitor Center. Coffee will be served. Then, at 11:15 a.m., HVSF Conservatory Company alumni Zach Fike Hodges and Maryn Shaw (seen in last season’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, Twelfth Night and The Book of Will) will illuminate techniques used onstage by HVSF actors and lead the audience through a round of theater games.
Visitors may enter the morning’s raffle for a basket of 2018 season gifts. The day will also include ticket giveaways, hands-on activities for all ages, locally prepared treats and ticketed tours of the Boscobel house. Visitors are encouraged to RSVP at https://hvshakespeare.org, and to bring along their burning questions about the Festival.
Weather permitting, events may take place outdoors, adjacent to the Visitor Center. But, with the Festival’s tech rehearsals already in full swing, the Theater Tent will not be open to the public on May 28. Boscobel House and Gardens are located at 1601 Route 9D in Garrison.