WESTERLY — It will be a delightful Shakespearean and Sophoclean summer this year when New London’s Flock Theatre makes its debut in Wilcox Park with performances of a comedy and a tragedy.
Tonight at 7 p.m., Flock Theatre, the resident theater company at Mitchell College, which has presented summer Shakespeare festivals at the Connecticut College Arboretum for the last 24 years, opens with “The Comedy of Errors” for a two-weekend run. Performances will be Thursday to Sunday through July 7, with no performance on July 4.
Victor Chiburis, who directs the play, said the company chose to “return to the very first Shakespeare play we ever did.”
“It’s one of the Bard’s most farcical comedies,” Chiburis said, “where not one, but two sets of long-lost identical twins are let loose in town, much to everyone’s confusion. Including ours.”
“So, to save us all a few headaches, we didn’t actually cast twins this time,” he continued, “but we promise there is plenty of slapstick, puns, anachronism, and silliness to make you laugh twice as hard.”
Westerly native Aimee Blanchette will play the role of Adriana; Danielle McGuire will play Luciana; Malcolm Cameron is Aegeon; Michael Hinton is Antipholus of Syracuse; Eric Michaelian is Antipholus of Ephesus; Brandon Tyler, Dromio of Syracuse; Avery Moody, Dromio of Ephesus; Brian Olsen, Angelo the Goldsmith; Fergus Milton, Second Merchant and Gus Kellog is the Officer. Westerly resident Mark Sullivan will play the role of citizen while Patrick Goodnow will play Aemilia the Abbess; Bill Steinmayer will play both Duke Solinus and Balthazar, Sharon Marr both Courtezan and First Merchant and Phi Kasem-Beg both Luce and Pinch.
“The Comedy of Errors” will also have a special performance at the Mystic Seaport Museum on Aug. 10, Chiburis said.
The Flock Theatre will return to the park on July 11 with a two weekend run of Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex.” Sophocles’ most famous Greek tragedy, Chiburis said the production “plants the audience in the city of Thebes, as the plague-ridden Greek Chorus tells us our story enhanced with American Sign Language and larger-than-life puppets.”
“The gods seek justice, who killed the previous King Laius, and will King Oedipus be able to find the murderer? However, Oedipus may be blinding himself to the possibility that he has fulfilled a dark prophecy told the day he was born,” Chiburis said.
The plays will also be performed in the Connecticut College Arboretum, 270 Mohegan Ave, New London. “The Comedy of Errors,” will take place Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 15 to 25, and “Oedipus Rex,” will run Thursday through Sunday, July 25 to Aug. 4.
Tickets in the arboretum are $20 general admission, $15 students, seniors and active military. The performance begins at 7 p.m. with tickets sold at the performance area entrance.
Flock Theatre is a professional, nonprofit theater committed to working with any community it's nvited into. Starting as a street theater company in Boston in the late 1980s, the fledgling troupe eventually settled in Southeastern Connecticut by the early '90s.
With focuses in classics, puppetry, and education, Flock has created theater that is “immersive, site-specific, historical, and unique.” said Chiburis. The organization’s Summer Shakespeare in the Arboretum at Connecticut College is the longest uninterrupted festival of its kind in the region, and its “Burning of Benedict Arnold Festival” combines pageantry with historical drama to bring to life American history and tradition.
Flock has worked with numerous organizations, artists, and communities to produce its singular brand of theater. They include the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, the National Puppetry Conference, the New London County Historical Society, the CT Office of the Arts, Mystic Seaport, Yale Museum of British Arts, Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors festival and the Chorus of Westerly.
For more information, visit flocktheatre.org.