It’s with great pleasure and a modicum of regret that I write about The Public Theater’s two-part late season event(s) at Central Park’s popular and populist Delacorte Theater. I refer to the production of Shakespeare’s comedy-drama The Tempest and, two weeks later, the two Fall for Dance evenings.
Actually, since the dance program was a gathering of professional troupes, I’m going to carry on here solely about The Tempest, which was produced under the Public Works auspices and referred to in promotion material as “the ground-breaking new initiative for community-based theater.”
The promo material goes on to explain, “Public Works is designed to cultivate new connections and new models of engagement with artists, audiences and the community each year. In its inaugural year, it is creating an extraordinary example of participatory theater with this free original adaptation of The Tempest, inspired by a 1918 community theatrical event of Caliban of the Yellow Sands at the stadium at City College in New York.”
Cynics—or maybe just the publicity-inured—might grouse that the phrase ”an extraordinary example of participatory theater” is what would be expected from an in-house release. In this instance, however, the quote is, if anything, insufficient. “Extraordinary” only gives a slight introductory hint at what this longtime Delacorte Theater-goer considers one of the best productions ever offered at the free-ticket arena.
Twice monthly, ArtsNash is delighted to feature articles from our partner The Clyde Fitch Report. The contributors to CFR cast their journalistic eyes on the worlds of arts and politics. Follow The Clyde Fitch Report on Facebook and Twitter. David Finkle is the author of the preceding article, one of a series in The Aisle Seat for CFR.
*Photo from The Public Theater’s production of The Tempest by Joan Marcus courtesy CFR.