There are a lot of great venues in Concord to see a live theatrical performance – the Concord City Auditorium, the Capitol Center for the Arts, the Bank of N.H. Stage, Hatbox Theatre, just to name a few. There are also some great outdoor spots to catch a concert, from Bicentennial Square to the patio at Cheers to the lawn next to Concord Public Library.
But how often do you get to see a live theatrical performance under the open skies?
Well, the wait is over, as Advice to the Players, Sandwich’s own Shakespeare Company, comes to the capital city Friday evening for a special free performance of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
The theater company has been teaching and performing Shakespeare’s works around the Lakes Region since 1999, and as part of its 20th anniversary this year, they’re coming this way for the first time in their history to put on a show for free, thanks to a sponsorship from the Duprey Companies.
“What happened is Duprey Companies reached out to us to let us know Steve Duprey would love to sponsor a Shakespeare performance in Concord,” said Jessie Chapman, executive director of Advice to the Players. “We’ve never performed in Concord, so it’s a fun, new experience for us too, and we’re happy to bring the show there.”
While outdoor theater productions are fairly rare around here, Advice to the Players does quite a few outdoor performances. In fact, the majority of their performances in the summer are outdoors, so the actors and crew will be well-prepared for this gig.
Putting on a play outdoors presents some challenges that don’t exist when working at an indoor, theater-specific venue. For starters, the group uses no microphones or amplification of any kind, so the actors have been trained to really strengthen their vocal chords to be able to project over the ambient noise that comes with putting on a show in a popular city square.
That said, despite the company’s extensive experience in outdoor shows, the Eagle Square amphitheater still represents something a little different for Advice to the Players.
“We’ve never performed in a place quite like Eagle Square,” Chapman said. “That’s such a beautiful area, and we’re really excited. We actually designed our set to travel to Eagle Square.”
The company is a relatively traditional Shakespeare company, meaning they try to keep things pretty similar to the way they were originally performed back in Shakespeare’s day. The one big exception, though, is that Advice to the Players does use female actresses on stage, whereas it was all men back in the day.
The play is a commentary on the trifecta of power, sex, and morality: centering around the fate of a pious sister forced into a difficult situation, a moralistic leader who does not walk the talk he preaches, and a Duke in disguise. It is the company’s Summer Mainstay Production, and they’ll perform it eight other times in Sandwich in the week-plus leading up to the Concord show.
The Eagle Square performance will be at 5:30 p.m., and it’s free and open to anyone. The first 60 people to arrive will get to borrow a stadium seat to provide a little cushion on those stone steps.
For more info, go to advicetotheplayers.org.