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Shakespeare In the Park Goes Virtual

American Shakespeare Center’s 2020/2021 SafeStart Season makes a virtual visit to Historic Washington State Park via cinema-quality video for the 11th Annual Shakespeare in the Park. Enjoy a virtual performance by the American Shakespeare Center of Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night. Admission is FREE. Register by Friday, February 26 to access the video, and watch it at the best time that works for you. No workshops will be provided this year.

BlkFrs LIVE offers Historic Washington State Park’s audiences viewing of ASC’s production of Twelfth Night through partnership with Historic Washington State Park. The comprehensive “Virtual Tour” program is designed to make it possible for people to experience the joy of Shakespeare in performance and the magic of the Blackfriars Playhouse from far away.

In Twelfth Night, shipwrecked Viola is in love with Orsino…who is in love with Olivia…who is in love with Cesario…who is secretly Viola disguised as a man. In a world turned upside down, what could possibly go wrong (or right?) Twelfth Night arrives in a hilarious, fast-paced romp starring an ASC dream team of Mia Wurgaft and Zoe Speas as the twins Viola/Sebastian (decided by nightly coin toss), Constance Swain as Olivia, Brandon Carter as Orsino, Michael Mannochio as the persnickety steward Malvolio, and Chris Johnston as the musical clown Feste.

“More than anything, the 2020/2021 season is about offering audiences the vital connection they get from live performance. From the outset, we recognized that an important part of doing that in these conditions was meeting people where they were, and where they could feel safe,” says ASC Artistic Director Ethan McSweeny, “Since not everyone will want — or be able — to visit us in person, through BlkFrs LIVE we are bringing the Playhouse experience to them.”

The American Shakespeare Center brings a unique performance style, blending Shakespeare’s stage craft with modern sensibility. The company uses Shakespeare’s staging conditions including universal lighting, minimal sets, doubling, cross-gender casting, and music. In Shakespeare’s day, the company couldn’t turn the lights out on the audience; actors and audience shared the same light. Leaving the lights on allows for a type of audience contact rarely seen in modern day theatre. Audience members share directly in the action onstage as they become part of the play. The organization can be found online at www.americanshakespearecenter.com.

Registration deadline for the show is Friday, February 26. Access to the video is FREE. Call 870-983-2684 to reserve the video and provide a valid email address. A weblink to watch the video will be sent to the email address provided. Funding for this opportunity is covered by the Patterson-Troike Foundation and other partners.

Historic Washington State Park, a restoration village preserving one of Arkansas’ most prominent 19th century towns, is located on US 278 nine miles north of Hope and can be reached by taking Exit 30 off Interstate 30. For more information visit www.HistoricWashingtonStatePark.com or call (870)983-2684.