Despite overcast skies and a cool breeze hinting of rain, the Monroe County Civic Theater presented Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” Friday night. While the actors excitedly prepared themselves backstage, loyal patrons, umbrellas in hand, gathered on the lawn in front of the Third Street Park stage for the group’s annual Shakespeare in the Park production.
As music blasted from the speakers, director Phillip Addison ran around the lawn in a blue Hawaiian-print shirt, welcoming people to the show and passing out programs.
“There is a method to the madness,” Addison said in regard to the pre-show music.
Addison said the pre-show music is one of the first matters of business he plans when directing a show because it helps him to get a feel for the show’s rhythm.
Scattered across the grass, sitting on lawn chairs and laying on blankets, the crowd watched closely as the story unfolded.
Lindsay Orrison, an incoming IU graduate student, saw a promotion for the show on the Internet and brought her family to see the production.
“It’s a very good show,” Orrison said.
Actors came from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, which made for a challenging production.
“We had some bumps along the way,” said cast member Ben Aldred, who played Marc Antony.
“Bumps,” interjected Addison. “More like potholes the size of cars!”
Several cast members dropped out two weeks before opening day, leaving cast and crew in a disarray until several people jumped in to fill their roles.
”I’m very happy with how the show went,” Aldred said. Addison nodded in agreement and said the cast worked hard and did a great job with the show.
Addison said it is always a little bit sad when a show ends, but he has come to realize that he will continue to work with most of these people again.
“There is a core group of people that do the Shakespeare in the Park, and every year it’s like a big reunion,” Addison said. “So, it is sad that one production ends, but you always know there is another one right around the bend.”
At the end of the show, the cast was in high spirits. Jessica Waters, who played Charmian, hugged Addison and a fellow cast member as she proclaimed, “We did it!”
MCCT will put on two more productions of “Antony and Cleopatra” this weekend, at 7 p.m., June 8 and 9, at Third Street Park. Admission is free and open to the public.
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