Florham Park, NJ - It’s such a treat to see a live performance in these difficult times. But leave iit to Shakespeare Theatre’s fearless director, Bonnie Monte, to deliver a delightful and provocative evening of Moliere and Edna St. Vincent Millay.
The setting is the outside lawn at the Thomas H. Kean Theatre Factory in Florham Park. Located on Vreeland Road, the landscape of rolling lawn, backed by towering trees iscalming and secluded. Audience members are directed to circular pods, bringing their own lawn chairs and joined by family or friends.chairs nging their own law family or friends. They are well planned out for social distancing.
Moliere’s “The Love Doctor” is a clever take on a young lady, Lucinda, (Billie Wyatt) who wants to marry Clitande (Isaac Hickox-Young), but her father Sganarelle (Jeffrey Mar Alkins) objects. Through various deceptions, with the help of the maid, Lisette (Skye Pagon) it all works out for the lovers in the end. The stylized and charmingly performed play was written for the king and amusement of the court. According to Monte, it only took Moliere five days to write and she said the actors could do just as well with five days of rehearsal. Indeed, it all works like a charm with 18th century costumes in shades of lavender, ivory and gray. Of course the four quack doctors almost steal the show with their outlandish solutions to Lucinda’s troubles.
“Aria Da Capo” is a quite different tale of greed and foolishness. Christian Frost as Pierrot claims he loves humanity, but hates people. He and Columbine (Ellie Gossage) spar and make up, appearing and disappearing. Sometimes actors shout from windows and at one point the two are curled up in what appears to be a quarter moon. Hickox-Young as Corydon and Jeffrey Marc Alkins as Cothurnus are initially shepherds and friends. But when they decide to build a wall between them,, water and gems become coveted objects. The former friends now turn on each other to tragic effect. Yet the play has moments of humor and the actors keep the theme moving along.
The plays are presented without an intermission, which works out well as it wasn’t quite dark when the evening ended. Much like the theatre’s outside productions at the on the campus of St.Elizabeth College, patrons can bring their own picnics to enjoy before it all begins at 7 p.m. These two productions alternate with “Verily, Madly Thine,” based on Shakespeare’s sonnet
The Shrewd Mechanicals is the theatre’s Summer Community Tour Company. In a summer with no tours, the company of eight has performed a peerless entertainment while staying right here instead. Performances continue on selected dates through Aug. 16.
For tickets, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or email BoxOffice@ShakespeareNJ.org