Please note: This is an event that takes place at a variety of parks around Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding suburbs. For a complete list of each weekend's times and locations, visit classicalactorsensemble.org.
“We rely on catching the attention of people in parks who maybe weren’t planning on coming to see a show,” says Joseph Papke, artistic director of Classical Actors Ensemble. “They see a crowd, they wander over, and end up spending the next hour with us.” That generally means choosing a comedy for the company’s annual foray into local parks, and this year it’s going to be The Merry Wives of Windsor. Falstaff’s failed wooing, says Papke, holds up as humor. “It’s 400 years later, and it’s still funny on the page.” The company is setting the courtship-centered romp in the mid-1960s. “Just before Summer of Love, so there’s a lot of fun color in that period, a lot of fun fashion,” says Papke. Falstaff as a swinger? “It makes me think of a Peter Lawford type.” Last year’s Romeo and Juliet set audience records for the company, proving the Bard is still a draw—especially if you can BYO picnic spread.