Theatre Pro Rata returns to the Bard — and performing outdoors — with this June's production of Twelfth Night. The wild tale of shipwrecked twins, crazy love, and a pair of unfortunate yellow pants will be shared in parks around the area (and St. Paul's Union Depot) over the next several weeks. The venues are in line with Pro Rata's tradition of producing their summer shows in nontraditional spaces, such as a disused movie theater or a graveyard. "We knew we were doing Twelfth Night, and we weren't doing it in a theater, so it just seemed natural that it should be Shakespeare in the park. It's a wonderful play for that kind of environment. It was also a perfect opportunity to expand our influence and visibility in the Twin Cities arts scene by performing in the suburbs for the first time and for an audience that might not typically have a chance check us out," says company member Ben Tallen. The production takes its visual cues from the dreamy landscapes of 1950s southern Europe while maintaining Shakespeare's madcap and lovelorn adventure. "Performing outdoors definitely adds an extra dimension to the actors' experience. They have to work around the unique challenges that each location offers, from differing sight lines to the varying topography. It's also very exposed; there's no backstage area to hide between scenes. And, of course, you've got bugs, rain, heat, and the possibility of passersby inadvertently wandering right through the show," Tallen says. The company includes Charles Numrich, Katherine Kupiecki, and David Beukema. Carin Bratlie directs. "This is a great opportunity for people to check out Shakespeare in a relaxed setting. Watching a play in a park can separate it from the baggage that sometimes accompanies classical works," Tallen adds. "Audiences will get to sit outside on a beautiful summer evening and watch a play outside of their 'natural habitat.' There's something thrilling about that." Call 612.234.7135 or visit theatreprorata.org for upcoming locations.
Fridays, Saturdays, 6:30 p.m. Starts: June 20. Continues through June 21, 2014