In these unusual times companies find themselves performing in more unusual spaces. Many flocked online but with the permission to now perform outside Bard in the Yard has brought this new, original 40 minute production to the great outdoors. Written and directed by Victoria Baumgartner our Bard was Miztli Rose, one of 15 actors taking on the role.
The production is timely focusing on William Shakespeare in a plague outbreak in 1605, locked down in London attempting to write his latest masterpiece-King Leonardo, his three daughters and a silly dog. Shakespeare is struggling for inspiration and focuses on his previous successes, his leading man Richard Burbage’s reluctance to sing and dance and his rivalry with the prolific Ben Jonson.
The monologue was at its strongest when William was in gossip mode-about his family, his life and about his neighbour Walter Raleigh pottering about with nowhere else to go. Rose was incredibly charismatic and performing in a Croydon park with runners, loud Italian families and toddlers running around couldn’t have been easy. Baumgartner’s script was a humorous look at Shakespeare’s work, his influences and ultimately a reminder that art does go on, whatever the circumstances.
Will & Co’s Bard in a Yard is primarily aimed at private audiences in gardens but you can book them (though limited in audience of 2) for use in a public park. This is on the more expensive end of the cheap seat. Private entertainment in a safe space was always the more high end option but it is good value for money and reflective of an industry that has lost and needs to recoup a lot. Outdoor performances have for various reasons (weather) never been the default in this country but like Shakespeare’s Globe being part of nature, with its sounds, smells and sights, feels normal, in a world where it isn’t clear what is normal anymore.
Edited to add (16 July 2020): Park performances are not limited to 2 people. Will&Co will confirm future collaborations which may make this more accessible and cheaper than current options
Bard in the Yard can be booked via https://www.bardintheyard.co.uk/ from £89.60