The children’s theatre troupe, Shakespeare with Noodles, continues its six-year tradition of providing free Shakespeare in the parks to local communities, with Henry IV & 3/4. Sponsored by the Hastings College Department of Theatre, the troupe approaches Shakespeare in a unique manner by incorporating props constructed from swimming noodles.
Performances are Sunday, Aug. 2 at Libs Park in Hastings (16th St. and Baltimore Avenue); Friday, Aug. 7 at Heartwell Park in Hastings (Forest Boulevard and N. California Avenue); and Saturday, Aug. 15 at the Village Green in McCool Junction (near the town hall on M Street). All shows begin at 7:00 p.m. There is no charge for admission but the group recommends bringing a lawn chair.
In the event of rain, performances will be moved to Scott Studio Theatre at Hastings College (806 N. Turner Ave.).
Henry IV & 3/4 combines two of Shakespeare’s plays focusing on England’s 100-year war. With a running time of less than 60 minutes, the show’s title reflects the frenzy and confusion of this troubled period in England’s history.
“To be honest, I’m baffled by British history,” said the group’s director Margaret Marsh. “There are so many shifting allegiances and the crown gets juggled from family to family. As Americans, we’re used to democracy, where power gets transferred much more smoothly.”
Marsh said she doesn’t feel she is alone in her fascination with monarchs. “People love stories about royal families. Look at the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones or The White Queen,” she said. Marsh noted that there is something compelling about families battling for power. “Despite the luxury these people lived in, we relate with them. Not all our families are this dysfunctional but we’ve all been involved in some kind of conflict with our relatives to some degree,” she said.
Conflict is also at the heart of the show’s appeal to children. “For the kids, it’s all about the noodle swords. They love the action scenes,” Marsh said. As for action, Marsh said this year’s show will not disappoint. The show’s climax even includes a noodle tank.
For more information about the program contact Margaret Marsh at (402) 463-0159.