Shakespeare said “All the world is a stage” and he was right, thoughI’m not sure he was thinking of parking lots. Some 20 years ago a group of would-be thespians put together Shakespeare in the Parking Lot in New York City to bring the classics to the masses. Today they face the end of their endeavors as a newly-invoked department of transportation fee and the forthcoming demolition of the parking lot where they perform loom darkly.
I love to see an empty parking lot put to good use, not that I’d ever be in a play on stage or in a parking lot myself – no talent. These parking lot performers must be very devoted to their work, though sadly unable to find work in an actual theater, so it makes the world feel like a friendlier place to think of them finding an outlet for their artistry. They call the threats to their work an inevitable consequence of the city’s progress, but it seems like a step backwards to me.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
For years, Artistic Director Hamilton Clancy said his dealings with the city have been cordial. “There had been a very New York understanding,” he said, describing the DOT response as: “If you don’t cause any trouble, we’re glad you’re making people happy.”
And that’s a terrific approach, if you ask me. Let’s hope the Shakespeare in the Parking Lot and the Drilling Company, it’s producer, can find another venue. They’re looking, and not opposed to performing outside of parking lots, regardless of their name.
“The fact that we have a brand name is not going to weigh us down,” Clancy said. “We are going to bring Shakespeare to the people.”
Read the article here.