Shakespeare with Noodles, a theatre troupe featuring all-children casts and props made from swimming noodles, returns to Hastings this summer with its third production, King Lear’s Backside. Performances in Hastings are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 5 at Libs Park (16th St. and Baltimore Ave.), in conjunction with Art in the Park and 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 11 at Kool Aid Days’ 2nd stage behind the Hastings City Auditorium (4th St. and Hastings Ave.) In the event of rain both performances will be moved to Hastings College’s Scott Studio Theatre (806 N. Turner Ave.)
Additionally, the troupe, which is sponsored by the Hastings College Department of Theatre and Mishmash Productions, is taking its show on the road with a 7 p.m. performance on Saturday, August 18 at McCool Junction’s Two Men and an Oven (406 East M St., McCool Junction, Neb.)
There is no admission charge for any of the performances, although the group accepts donations of cash or even swimming noodles.
Founded in 2006, the troupe seeks to create theatrical opportunities to children in the Hastings area. In 2009, the group moved its productions to parks in Hastings to increase its visibility and accessibility to children not participating in theatre.
“There is a danger of the arts becoming an exclusive activity, supported and attended only by people who can afford it,” said Margaret Marsh, the group’s director and Adjunct Professor of Theatre at Hastings College. “If you don’t know what a play is, it isn’t likely you’ll shell out 15 or 20 bucks to buy a ticket and find out.”
The strategy is paying off for the troupe whose current cast includes nine children who are bilingual.
“It’s a really relaxed atmosphere. People are sitting around on blankets or in lawn chairs so you don’t have to worry about the rules of performance etiquette that can be intimidating when you don’t know what they are. Since we’ve focused on kids, we understand that it’s hard for a toddler to sit still for an hour. It’s okay if they want to get up and move around,” she further explained, although she boasts that seldom happens.
“The show is really fast paced. Characters run in and out and our props are usually pretty funny. Once they start watching kids usually want to see how it ends.”
This is the second year the group has taken their show on the road.
“It was really fun. There aren’t many small towns visited by groups like ours. It’s a really festive atmosphere. We couldn’t wait to go back,” Marsh said.
Note to Media: For more information, contact Margaret Marsh, Adjunct Instructor of Theatre, at (402) 463-0159.