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Twenty four children bring Shakespeare’s biggest masterpiece to life this summer in Hastings. Mishmash Productions presents King Lear Part I, the second of its Shakespeare with Noodles series. This year the group is sponsored by the Hastings College Theatre Department.
The show has proved so challenging that the group is devoting two summers to its telling. With a running time of between four to five hours, King Lear is Shakespeare’s longest play as it weaves together two complicated story lines. In addition to the story of King Lear and his three daughters, Shakespeare has also included the story of Lord Gloucester and his two sons.
It took several months for the group’s director, Margaret Marsh, to cut the script down to an hour and a half. Midway through the rehearsal process the group decided to break the show into two parts and two summers.
“ We incorporate a lot of physical comedy and action in our performances. It’s fast paced with lots of running and shouting. It can be exhausting. It’s important that we keep this fun for the kids and for the audience,” Marsh said. She stated further, “It’s been a challenge, but this is hands down my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays.”
The children in the show range in age from nine to 16 years. They are of diverse cultural backgrounds. Many of them are bilingual, three of the cast learned English as a second language. There are no fees for kids who participate in the program.
Likewise there is no charge for admission. The play will rotate through the Hastings parks. The group’s first performance will be at Libs park on August 7 at 7:00 p.m. They will perform at Kool Aid Days on the second stage across from the Adams County Court House August 12 at 2:00 p.m. August 19 they will be at Chautauqua park at 7:00 p.m. Their final weekend of performances will be August 26 at Heartwell park, 7:00 p.m. and August 27 at Brickyard park, 7:00 p.m.
This summer the group will also be traveling to McCool Junction for a special performance at Two Guys and an Oven on August 20, 7:00 p.m. For additional information, contact Margaret at (402) 463-0159.