Beyond the Kitsap Mountaineer Players’ annual excursions into the woods each summer, outdoor theater in Kitsap — let alone free snippets of Shakespeare on the waterfront — is a touch hard to find.
Luckily this month, the latter will be relatively easy to seek out, so long as one knows how to get to Bremerton’s Evergreen Park (at the end of Pacific Ave. off of 11th Street).
It is there, in the park’s cement amphitheater, that the folks from the Changing Scene Theatre Northwest will be hosting two free nights of Shakespeare in the Park — starting at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 and 16.
It will be Kitsap’s first taste of the trend in quite sometime. Two years ago, Changing Scene players put on a small outdoor performance in Port Gamble. But beyond that, people on the peninsula had to crossover either to Port Townsend and catch the Key City Players or to Seattle for a Green Stage performance to enjoy an outdoor evening with the Bard.
“It’s really rare (in Kitsap), and it’s strange to me because the summers are so gorgeous here and the elements are at their best,” said co-director Pavlina Morris, using words like “fantastic” and “perfect” when describing the Evergreen Park locale. “It’s wonderful exposure to Shakespeare as well.”
Each night will be a scattered, spliced together performance featuring six different scenes from three Shakespearian works: “Hamlet,” “Taming of the Shrew” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
All will be put on with a minimalist set on a Bremerton shores backdrop by nine Will-established actors.
“We’ve all worked together before … actually we’ve all done Shakespeare together “ said cast member and organizer Kyle Boynton. “It’s fun to go back to those characters and have fun in those scenes again.”
Akin to watching a favorite movie or play for the third or fourth time, by going back to the scenes which they’d acted out previously for weeks, even months at a time, with Shakespeare in the Park, these actors have been able to pick out and emphasize the underlying nuances and details.
In the Changing Scene’s 2005 production of “Hamlet,” Christopher Dolan played Hamlet and he will be doing so again in the Park, likewise for Darren Hembd who played Petruchio for the Changing Scene’s previous production of “Taming of the Shrew.”
The rest of the nine-member cast includes Kenadi Lewis (who played Peter Quince in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Bremerton High School and will play that role again in the Park), Rachael Cummings, Dray Young, Briana Osborne, Boynton and Morris (also co-director). Co-director Derek Niegemann will be the evening’s emcee.
Performing in a park setting beckons this cast to flex their collective thespian muscle.
“The performances have to be bigger … there needs to be a lot more action,” Morris added, noting that with all the potential distractions of live performance at a public park, as an actor “it kind of keeps you on your toes.”
And for the audience, the smell of barbecue, sound of boats and dogs and kids at play mixed with the Old English rhetoric should make the show all the more exciting, or at least interesting.
Those familiar with Shakespeare can look forward to the lovers’ scene from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the gravedigger scene from “Hamlet,” and Petruchio/Catherine and the actual taming of the shrew scene from “Taming of the Shrew,” among others, Morris said.
And for those yet to indulge in the Bard?
“This is perfect for those type of people,” Morris said. “It’s kind of like Shakespeare-lite, we’re just doing little essences of each of these plays.”
It also serves as a preview of things to come at the Changing Scene. The East Bremerton theater has two full productions of Shakespeare upcoming in its next season, which begins with “Much Ado About Nothing” Sept. 28 through Oct. 27.
Check www.changingscenenorthwest.org for the name of the second Shakespeare feature and more details.