Once again, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks brings live theatre to parks, fairgrounds and football fields far and wide. The traveling troupe, based in Bozeman, performs Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and the classic “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand during its summer tour throughout Montana, and dipping into northern Wyoming, eastern Idaho, western North Dakota and eastern Washington.
In its 43rd season, the company has added two days to the tour and performances in Spokane and Sandpoint to make it the largest tour in its history.
“We are excited to extend our reach to Spokane and Sandpoint as we maintain the tradition of bringing free Shakespeare to audiences across Montana and its surrounding states,” said Kevin Asselin, the company’s artistic director. “We are thankful to all of our tour coordinators who help us share the gift of Shakespeare with their communities.”
Asselin, who directs “The Taming of the Shrew,” gives the comedy a Wild West flavor by setting it in the Wyoming Territory of the 1880s. Chicago-based guest director Si Osborne takes the lead on “Cyrano de Bergerac,” which the company hasn’t performed since 1992. The tragic comedy tells the tale of the valiant musketeer Cyrano, whose rapier wit is only exceeded by the size of his nose.
The troupe is composed of 10 professional actors selected from national auditions who tour without technical assistance, bringing high-caliber live theatre to mostly rural communities. This summer, 47 percent of the 62 communities they’ll visit have populations of 2,000 or fewer.
All performances, with the exception of those at Bozeman’s Sweet Pea Festival, are free and open to the public. Audiences are encouraged to arrive early with chairs, blankets and picnics.
For more information on the plays and a complete tour schedule, visit the company’s website, www.shakespeareintheparks.org.