The Drilling Company’s Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot, is kicking of their 2012 season with “Merry Wives of Windsor Towers” as a comment on recent SPURA developments.
The Artistic Director of The Drilling Company, and the director of “Merry Wives” Hamilton Clancy, chose this play in order to have a lighter foil to the upcoming production of “Coriolanus”, while still maintaining relevance to the socio-political climate of the location of the Municipal lot in which Shakespeare has been produced for over 20 years.
The controversy surrounding SPURA, or the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, sets the tone of “Merry Wives of Windsor Towers”, a title expanded to reflect the current class struggle surrounding the Lower East Side. Windsor Towers is a fictional condo developed in the trendy neighborhood, who’s residence include Masters Ford and Page, who are trying to use SPURA to the financial advantage. Falstaff evolves from the down on his financial luck knight to a real estate agent. In either case, he’s still attempting to take advantage of the financial stability of Mistresses Ford and Page.
The timing of this production coincides with recent developments in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. The area which includes 5 vacant lots in the vicinity of the Williamsburg Bridge, was originally part of a plan to tear down vacant tenement homes to replace with low-income housing. The plan was only partially finished as controversy began to develop over whether the newly developed properties would be better suited as low-income housing, market rate condos, or commercial space. After decades of of controversy, a compromise was reached only a month ago.
The Municipal Lot where Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot is a venue that according to Clancy is a “accessible” venue for a production with themes that are being more directed to the socio political climate of the area. He writes, “We believe the Parking Lot can be a container for a range of directorial interpretations and perspectives.”
You can read more about Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot here.