Truly, genuinely, wonderfully theatrical

It’s absolutely refreshing—in the present-day theatre world full of shows that can easily be TV sitcoms or TV dramas—to see a production that’s truly, genuinely, wonderfully theatrical. I applaud Woodshed Collective for their risk-taking project—this environmental site-specific show that does justice to Caridad Svich’s lyrical play Twelve Ophelias.

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Authentic Smokey Mountain Grace

The Jones Street Boys [provide] the play’s most authentic Smoky Mountain grace notes, despite the fact that none of its members hail from south of the Mason-Dixon line. The show begins with one of those great coups de theatre that have kicked off shows like “Black Watch” in the recent past: the sudden, unexpected appearance of a character or an object draws us in, especially when we can see all around us for hundreds of yards. Director Teddy Bergman and his designers give the play life aided by their surroundings — McCarren Park Pool is undoubtedly a neato venue for any aspiring experimental theater troupe. Bergman can ominously bring in the characters from yards offstage; Jessica Pabst can dress some of her actors in flowing garments to make use of the inevitable wind; the whole crew can use the encroaching darkness that falls shortly after the 8 p.m. curtain time.

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Get Thee to a Pool, Girlfriend

Poor Ophelia was never given much of a chance to shine in “Hamlet,”… In “Twelve Ophelias“, a free summer show outdoors at the McCarren Park Pool, she finally gets her chance to speak her mind. The setting for this production, by the Woodshed Collective, is lovely, and the word “free” in front of “theater” is a wonderful thing – Passion is exchanged, (and) female empowerment is explored.

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Twisted Take on the Tragedy

The teeming hordes of tourists who descend on Manhattan in the summer rarely stray far from Times Square in search of theater. But there is plenty of stage activity in the other boroughs too. A whimsical riff on ”Hamlet” opens this week at an appropriately unusual site, the McCarren Park Pool in scruffy-hip Brooklyn. ”Twelve Ophelias,” by Caridad Svich, imagines an afterlife for Elsinore’s unluckiest lass. Ophelia pops out of the water, squeeze-dries her skirt, tosses aside the water-logged flowers and sets out for new adventures in a new world. Elsinore, you see, looks a lot like Appalachia in this twisted take on the tragedy. A bluegrass band, the Jones Street Boys, supplies an original score for this production from the Woodshed Collective, founded by Vassar alumni.

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