Found Space Theatre versus Outdoor Performance

Making a transcontinental move is no easy feat.  Neither is graduating from a highly accredited four year university.  Put those two together in the space of two weeks and you’ve outlined how stressed, crazy, exhilarated, and scatterbrained I’ve been for the past three months.

To say that this year has been a game changer is putting it mildly.  Since I’ve been in New York, I have completed two shows: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour’s Lost both with the lovely Boomerang Theatre Company.  It has been such a great experience working with outdoor theatre and especially with what I perceive as two types of outdoor theatre; namely ‘found theatre’ and ‘staged outdoor theatre.’

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was located in Central Park in this lovely overhang of trees near the Upper West Side entrance on 72nd Street.  We got to rehearse in the space from day one and really felt the rise and fall of the terrain, molding the blocking to it.  For the lovers to get lost amongst actual trees and premiering ON midsummer (June 21), it became a magical production full of laughter and discovery.  The magic didn’t just come from Puck and the fairies however, each group brought their own unique spark to this production and I truly had a blast working with everyone.

While Love’s Labour’s Lost on the other hand, did not have that kind of blocking evolution with the space, where it was staged in front of the massive New York Public Library on the Upper Terrace of Bryant Park, it did have a kind of grandiose authenticity to it.  Where the French courtly ladies are forced to remain outside of the the Court of Navarre’s grand castle due to an oath sworn by King Ferdinand, the gesture from the Princess to the Library perfectly established where the action was taking place.  A small platform stage was set up on the gravel to create a sort of mini-thrust stage and invited the audience to pay attention to what was happening.

Each performance had its benefits and downfalls, but both were the perfect example of such awesome theatre that occurs in New York.  This is the reason why I moved here and why I am constantly amazed at all of the wonderful magical things happening in theatre.  I look forward to all of the amazing opportunities that are ahead of me!

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About Kathryn Meister

Production Stage Manager.
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