10th season of ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ comes to Genesee County

From left, Ella Thorp, Caroline Collins, Brian Haggard, Philip Kautz and Benjamin Segal head a large and lively cast for “Much Ado About Nothing.”

From left, Ella Thorp, Caroline Collins, Brian Haggard, Philip Kautz and Benjamin Segal head a large and lively cast for “Much Ado About Nothing.”

GENESEE COUNTY — For 10 years, Flint’s “Shakespeare in the Park” in Kearsley Park has drawn rave reviews and enthusiastic crowds. Again this year, the production is going beyond Kearsley Park to parks across the city and county.

Admission to all performances (except the opening night fundraising gala at Kearsley Park) is free. Please bring lawn chairs everywhere except Kearsley Park. The Opening Gala at Kearsley Park features strawberries and cream before the show and champagne by candlelight afterwards with the actors, all compliments of Fandangles’. Gala tickets are $25 and up.

This year’s production — Much Ado About Nothing — is generally considered one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, because it combines elements of robust hilarity with more serious meditations on honor, shame and court politics.

It opens at Kearsley Park with performances on June 14-16 then moves to For-Mar Nature Preserve, Linden’s Clover Beach and Flushing County Park.

Much Ado About Nothing chronicles two pair of lovers: Benedick and Beatrice plus Claudio and Hero. Benedick and Beatrice are engaged in a very “merry war”; they are both very witty and proclaim their disdain of love. In contrast, Claudio and Hero are sweet young people who are rendered practically speechless by their love for one another.

Although the young lovers Hero and Claudio provide the main impetus for the plot, the courtship between the wittier, wiser lovers Benedick and Beatrice is what makes Much Ado About Nothing so memorable. Benedick and Beatrice argue with delightful wit, and Shakespeare develops their journey from antagonism to sincere love and affection with a rich sense of humor and compassion.

Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar on the erroneous belief that she has been unfaithful. However, Dogberry, a Constable who is a master of malapropisms, discovers the evil trickery of the villain, Don John. In the end, Don John runs away and everyone else joins in a celebration of the marriages of the two couples.

The play is directed by Kay Kelly.

This performance is part of “2013 Theatre in OUR Parks,” a collaboration between the City of Flint Parks and Recreation Department and Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission.

The full schedule of performance dates is:

• June 14, 8 p.m. — Kearsley Park Opening Night Gala

• June 15, 8 p.m. — Kearsley Park

• June 16, 2 p.m. — Kearsley Park [only MATINEE]

• June 20, 7 p.m. — For-Mar Nature Preserve

• June 21, 7 p.m. — Linden, Clover Beach

• June 22, 7 p.m. — Flushing County Park

Details: Visit kearsleyparkplayers.com. — G.G.

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