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July 31, 2017
Review: Drilling Company Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’

Bryant Park Presents' Twelfth Night, performed and produced by The Drilling Company Shakespeare, is a whimsical midsummer night dream in midtown Manhattan. Set in the open air of Bryant Park, patrons sit on chairs and blankets and enjoy the show.

Directed by Jane Bradley, with music by Andrew Gombas (who also plays Feste the Clown), this production speaks in all of the original text while donning vibrant modern costumes and wigs, designed by Grace Whittemore. Inspired by other transformative journeys such as those seen in The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, the Drilling Company's production paints a colorful fever dream for the characters. Twins Sebastian (Brandon Reilly) and Viola (Natalie Smith) find themselves in Illyria, a foreign land where anything goes, the louder the better.

All of the cast have impressive training and credits, and all come together to form a strong ensemble (the cast comprises actors Emmanuel Elpenord, Natalie Smith, Brandon Reilly, Kathleen Simmonds, Rachel A. Collins, Lukas Raphael, Jack Sochet, Jarrod Bates, Arif Silverman, Hayley Simmonds, Andrew Gombas). All knew how to bring forth this classic to the crowd, many of whom were students seeing Shakespeare for the first time, while working against ambient traffic noises. They remained clear and engaging, and used the space well.

For more information on Shakespeare in Bryant Park visit:

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Review: The Drilling Company’s ‘Henry VI Part 3’

By Erin Kahn

It’s a happy chance that for their second Shakespeare in the Parking Lot production this year, The Drilling Company chose not to stage Julius Caesar – though they considered it – but Henry VI Part 3: one of Shakespeare’s most seldom performed history plays. Caesar has played often enough this summer (if indeed it can ever be performed “enough”), and Henry VI yields an even more apt perspective on the current political climate: in which endless bickering between two parties makes any progress impossible. In Henry VI, at least, those two parties are the House of Lancaster – upholding Henry VI as rightful king of England – and the House of York – upholding York as king. With Lancaster in red and York in white, the stage is set for an especially bloody chapter in the War of the Roses. Director Hamilton Clancy sets his production in the USA, in a time – as the program states cryptically – “maybe soon.” Accordingly, the actors dress in business suits, mainly black, with red or white accents depending on their house (Lancaster or York). Props are minimal and simple: a tinfoil crown for King Henry and weapons forged from duct tape and foam. A resin patio chair – painted half red and half w …Read more

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