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Enjoy free Shakespeare-in-the-park

Karl Berner portrays Lysander Kelsey Dougherty plays HelenChicago Street Theatre's producti'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' | Phoprovided

Karl Berner portrays Lysander and Kelsey Dougherty plays Helena in the Chicago Street Theatre's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." | Photo provided

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Updated: August 13, 2012 1:49PM



There is something magical about theater under the stars, and this Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 14, magic will not only be part of the outdoor setting, but also part of the plot as Chicago Street Theatre brings Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to Central Park Plaza in Valparaiso for two free performances.

“This is without a doubt the largest production we’ve ever done,” said Heather Pflug, marketing director of the Chicago Street Theatre. “The set is pretty elaborate, based on the director, Eric Brant’s, vision of a steam punk theme. He’s raided junk yards and scoured bike shops for old gears, machinery parts and
all sorts of cool things. The set looks terrific.

“The show has a large cast. There are at least 20 performers including adults and children, including some very small children who are cast as fairies. It’s a family affair, as all of the kids in the show are related to an adult in the production,” Pflug said.

She added that the hope is that there will also be many families in the audience, as this play provides a good introduction to Shakespeare with a fairly straight-forward story that includes comedy, mischief and characters that children can enjoy.

“And before the show there
will be what we’re calling a ‘street festival’ starting at 6 p.m. There will be a puppet show by our Shakespeare Workshop team kids, and jugglers and kids on stilts. We’re trying to create a Globe Theatre feel.”

Pflug explained that street
performers and vendors were part of performance day festivities at London’s Globe Theatre where many of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed.

There will also be food available at Central Park Plaza. Many local restaurants will offer $5 tasting plates. There will also be ice cream, a wine and beer garden, and play-related merchandise for children, such as glow items and fairy wings.

“It’s been a dream of ours to do an outdoor production,” Pflug said. “About a year ago, we knew we wanted to do a Shakespeare production in this time slot, and the park was brand new and such a beautiful space, and we thought: Why not try and do it in the park? We had no idea what we were getting into. It’s been quite an undertaking, but we’re excited about it, and about all the interest in it. There really aren’t any other Shakespeare-in-the-park performances nearby, so we’re hoping that this fills a void in the community, and even beyond.”

These free performances will begin at 8 p.m. Take a blanket or lawn chairs, and plan to arrive early.

Reserve a guaranteed space in the up-close gallery section for $25 per person, or $40 per couple online at www.chicagostreet.org, or by calling the theater at 464-1636, Ext. 1. The gallery seating package also includes a gift and a tasting plate voucher.

Performances continue indoors through July 28 at the Chicago Street Theatre. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for veterans, those up to age 21 and seniors age 63 and older.



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