Arts & Entertainment

'Love's Labours' Not Lost on Locals

Family at play on the grounds of SPACE on Ryder Farm. Credits: Photos by Gabrielle Bilik
Camille Sebastian and her dogs, Sock and Pete, volunteer at the drinks table. Credits: Photos by Gabrielle Bilik
Members of the company enjoy a snack after the show.

NORTH SALEM, N.Y.--The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival on Sunday, Aug. 20, performed Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labours Lost”  at SPACE on Ryder Farm.

SPACE on Ryder Farm is a residency program for artists founded by Emily Simoness, a seventh-generation member of the Ryder family. In 2009, after visiting her family’s farm, she conceived the idea to creative an artistic home away from home that would serve as an inspiration to its residents while contributing to the sustainability and preservation of the family-run organic farm. Established in the late 1700s, it is one of the oldest farms of its kind on the East Coast, she said.

Guests from Brewster, North Salem and as far as New York City enjoyed farm tours, farm-fresh fare provided by the Clock Tower Grille’s food truck, performances and flower-crown making.

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The production was directed by Ian Belknap and was co-produced with The Acting Company.

“It’s a rare experience to come plop down on your blanket like you’re at the beach,” said Lana Russell, who came to visit her friend, Kate Eminger, who is a chef in residence at SPACE at Ryder Farm.

While Russell and her pals had taken one of Metro-North’s East of Hudson lines to escape the concrete jungle for the day, the experience was not lost on those whose trip to the event was much shorter.

“We cannot believe we have not been here before,” Michael Gitlitz said. Gitlitz and his wife, Rita, who live in North Salem, said they have enjoyed the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s outdoor performances at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison. Since 1988, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has performed at the historic landmark. Situated alongside the Hudson River, the venue is famous for the picturesque backdrop it provides thespians and theater-lovers who come out to see Shakespeare’s works performed by a small cast in an intimate and interactive setting.

Rita Gitlitz said the farm offered a beautiful setting for the performance and the couple enjoyed it just as much as performances at Boscobel.

Though the backdrop was just as beautiful, the venue presented a unique challenge to the performers, said actor Zach Fike Hodges, who portrayed Dumaine and Buyet.

“A big part of our jobs is adapting the show to the place,” he explained. He said the farm was one of the most completely outdoor spaces in which to perform.

Shows are very interactive, he added, so performers must adjust the volume of their voices. He and the other actors, many of whom live in the city, enjoyed the scenery and the sunny weather offered by the farm.

“We’re very excited to be here,” he said.

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