Company Carolina will bring its stage outside this April.
The student-run theater company will perform Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” free of charge on one of UNC’s outdoor quads as its spring production.
Clare Shaffer, Company Carolina’s producer, said the outside show has several advantages.
“The main reason for doing it on the quad was the ease of exposure, but Shakespeare is often performed outside, so there is definitely a parallel there.”
In Shakespeare’s time, plays were traditionally performed in outdoor venues, particularly the open-air Globe Theatre.
Shaffer also said that as a Shakespeare fan, she has been invested in the project for a long time.
“It’s kind of like my art baby,” she said.
With Shakespearean work, Shaffer said there is a lot of room to be flexible. Because his plays are public domain, they are not subject to copyright and can be adjusted to fit an alternate vision.
The company obtained permission to perform outdoors through the Carolina Union.
Nate Lerner, events planning manager for the Union, said that to get this permission, students must fill out a major-event request form.
The Union checks to ensure the proposed event does not violate any state or University policies before granting approval, he said in an email.
If an event is to take place outside, there is an extra step, Lerner said.
The Union submits the form for approval to the Division of Campus Services, which is in charge of facilities, before the event can take place.
Though producing an outdoor play has its benefits, it also brings a different set of problems, Shaffer said.
The actors will be without microphone equipment and will have to speak more clearly.
“It’s especially hard with Shakespeare because people only understand 50 percent of what you’re saying anyway,” Shaffer said.
She also said that the crew is toying with the idea of incorporating audience participation in the show, though doing so would have its drawbacks.
“You have to strike a balance with how cool you make the show, and not moving the audience around too much,” Shaffer said.
Daniel Doyle, director of the show, said though the production is just starting, he is full of ideas.
“He has a cohesive vision,” Shaffer, who chose Doyle to direct the show, said.
Shaffer also said she hopes to make the production of Shakespeare plays on the quad a yearly tradition — and perhaps a distinct wing — of Company Carolina.
“I want Shakespeare on the Quad to become more established and a very strong, self-sustaining group within Company Carolina,” she said.
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