This weekend, May 27 through 29, New Genesis Productions (NGP) will be producing William Shakespeare’s great work in a series of special performances at the atmospheric Byrdcliffe Theater in the historic mountainside arts colony just outside of Woodstock. A non-profit youth theater company that puts on a great theater arts camp at its base in the Town of Olive each summer and is never afraid of talking the most serious classics on, without condescension, NGP’s big productions have included Shakespeare’s equally challenging Henry V, Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest, provoking a host of kudos in local newspaper reviews and packed audiences thrilling at the earnestness of the productions that they saw each outing.
The summer plays, which will include productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors, following NGP’s popular six-week-long Summer Shakespeare Intensive in July and August, are held at the organization’s charming Little Globe Theater, outdoors in the shadow of the mighty Catskills. This weekend’s Hamlet, directed by NGP artistic director Leslie Sawhill, will involve full use of the darkly wainscoted, multilayered old Byrdcliffe Theater, where great operas and literary lectures were the norm during the first half of the 20th century and a host of legendary musical concerts and dance recitals have been the rule in more recent decades. The place has limited seating, so call for reservations. And be prepared to find oneself drawn back to the magic of the Bard, and his words’ (and narratives’) agelessness.
Performances take place on Friday night, May 27 at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 28 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 29 at 4 p.m. The Byrdcliffe Theater is located off Glasco Turnpike, to the west of the hamlet center of Woodstock; take Rock City Road to the stop sign and make a left. For further information, including details on the Summer Intensive and registrations, call (845) 657-5867 or visit www.newgenesisproductions.org.