by Eden Holt, Contributing writer
This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 10th – 12th, Brown Box Theatre Project returns to the Herter Park Amphitheater performing three free shows of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
A non-profit touring theater company, Brown Box Theatre Project travels across states performing 35 shows a season. Going on their 8th year, Brown Box has a mission and that is to breakdown financial and social barriers to art. They insist on free shows to audiences from all walks of life.
Coming from a rural community in Maryland, Kyler Taustin, co- founder and artistic director, realized that there was a gap. There was great art to be performed but too many barriers for patrons - whether it be the prices of tickets, the content or delivery of the play, or even having an actual theater in the area.
Harkening back to the lost art of a traveling theater, Brown Box Theatre Project brings performances to communities to meet them where they are. I had the opportunity to see how - in less than 3 hours and as if by magic - an impressive stage was raised by the actors and crew themselves. With that, they prove that quality performances, actors, actresses, sound, lighting, costumes, and sets can be found anywhere there is a group of people who are willing to join together to make it happen. Not only are they bringing art to communities, they themselves represent a commitment to community in their collaboration and support for each other.
As You Like It is a story of love - love for one’s self, love between a man and a woman, and love unencumbered by societal roles and expectations. Rosalind, played by Margaret Clark, falls in love with Orlando, played by Drew Cleveland. Rosalind is then banished from court and both find themselves in the woods where their love story takes an unexpected and yet very Shakespearean twist. Only in the woods the young couple is able to see beyond societal roles and expectations. Only when outside the limitations of court are the two able to find freedom.
Brown Box also escapes the traditional - urging us, the audience, to see and expect the unexpected. By bringing quality performances to communities and rural areas across four states, Brown Box is showing us that we, too, can expect more. This traveling theater company is committed to bringing quality live performances to areas and people that otherwise would have never had the chance to experience one.
Brown Box Theatre Project is on tour throughout Massachusetts through August 26th, but will only be at the idyllic outdoor Herter Amphitheater August 10th – 12th. And while they are already working on their 9th season, the company is looking even further - to their 10th season, marking a great achievement for a unique and innovative team.