July 09--MIDDLETOWN -- ARTFARM, the local theater group, will host its ninth season of outdoor Shakespeare performances this month, presenting "King Lear" at Middlesex Community College.
The Shakespeare in the Grove event this year will feature John Basinger as Lear. Performances will be July 17-20 and July 24-27, with live music by local musicians at 6 p.m. and the play starting at 7 p.m. on each night.
ARTFARM Director Dic Wheeler said the Shakespeare in the Grove setting on the college's natural shaded slope creates a perfect location for the performances. Families are invited to bring chairs and blankets for a picnic to listen to the live music before they settle in for Shakespeare.
King Lear and its tragic story of an aging king trying to hand over his throne to his children is poignant to a lot of families dealing with aging as a multi-generational issue, Wheeler said.
"It's one of the great tragedies of all time," he said. "It's so pertinent right now because it just resonates with so much of what we're dealing with."
There will also be three special events during this season's run, with a walk sponsored by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association before the July 20 show. The 45-minute hike, "Take Your Grandparents For A Walk," will start at 4:30 p.m. from the college campus, and will be followed by a discussion about "King Lear" with ARTFARM staff.
On July 22, one of the play's nights off, Hofstra University professor and Shakespeare scholar John Klause will give a talk about "Going to Extremes in King Lear" at Founders Hall at Middlesex Community College at 7 p.m.
Following the July 25 performance, MxCC President Anna Wasescha will moderate a panel discussion with the director and cast of the play.
Wheeler said "King Lear" is the second tragedy ARTFARM has produced for Shakespeare in the Grove after sticking mainly to comedies in the past.
"We're putting 'King Lear' in its proper Bronze Age setting of pre-Christian era England," Wheeler said. "[The college] is just a lovely place to come to and we have some great musicians this year."
American Sign Language interpretation will be provided for the July 26 performance.
For more information or tickets, go to http://www.art-farm.org. Tickets are $20 or $10 for students, and can be purchased at the event. Middlesex Community College is located at 100 Training Hill Road.
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