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Gaspipe Theatre Co. presents Shakespeare in the Park

August 12, 2012
By MATTHEW PARRISH ( , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough brier,

Over park, over pale,

Article Photos

The Gaspipe Theatre Co. will perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at 7 p.m. Friday in Lincoln Park in Milton, Saturday at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 142 Market St., Williamsport, and Aug. 19 in the gazebo at Hufnagle Park in Lewisburg.

Thorough flood, thorough fire,

I do wander everywhere.

- A fairy's answer to Puck's question, "Whither wander you?"

The Gaspipe Theatre Co. will perform "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at 7 p.m. Friday in Lincoln Park in Milton, Saturday at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 142 Market St., Williamsport, and Aug. 19 in the gazebo at Hufnagle Park in Lewisburg.

The company's director, Derek Scott, said that this is the 13th year of Shakespeare in the Park and this is the third time the group has performed "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

"Shakespeare's works are timeless," he said. "Even though he died a long time ago, there's so much relevance in what he says."

Scott said that reading Shakespeare is great, but seeing it is even better.

"The thing is that some people think reading the plays is experiencing them," he said. "But if you really want to understand Shakespeare, you need to see a play or be in one - then you truly get a sense of what he's talking about."

An added bonus is that there's no fee for the group to perform Shakespeare.

"You don't have to pay licensing to do Shakespeare," Scott said.

In the past, all Shakespeare in the Park performances by the company in Williamsport were held in Brandon Park, but this year, the show will be at St. Mark Lutheran Church.

"We've never performed here before," Scott said. "This year, we tried to do something a little different."

Ever since Scott co-founded the Gaspipe Theatre Co. in 2000, he said the public has responded to the performances with enthusiasm.

"Especially in Lewisburg, the public's been very supportive," he said. "We always have a nice turnout. When we first started in 2000, we knew that it had been done in other areas, but we didn't know if anyone had done anything like that in this area before so we decided we'd try to bring Shakespeare in the Park here."

The actors who perform with the group come from "all over the place," but mostly from Lewisburg.

Actor Ben Hartman, of Lewisburg, who plays Puck in the show, has performed with the company since 2002.

"I was at Bucknell over the summer [that year] and someone had dropped out of one of the shows my friend said, 'Hey, do you want to be in a play?' Now, 10 years later, they're still trying to get rid of me."

He said that he wanted to participate in this performance because "'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is Shakespeare's "classic summer play."

"It's one of the most performed and most well-loved of Shakespeare's plays" he said. "It's fun and, I don't know, it's summer embodied."

Hartman said that he didn't have too much trouble empathizing with Puck.

"He's the mischievous prankster who runs around causing trouble for mortal and fairy realms," he said. "It was easy to relate to. I don't know what that says about me."

Andrew Shaffer, also of Lewisburg, will perform as Bottom the Weaver. He said that "Midsummer" is their favorite show to perform.

"It's the most fun show to do," he said. "Because there's a bunch of comedy and a little drama and magic. It's the most popular Shakespeare play from the audience's point of view."

Shaffer has performed with the company for 12 years and said that he loves working with the troupe.

"It's great," he said. "I've known Derek forever. He's a good director and writer and we're very good friends."

The actor encourages people to come and have a good time.

"Come out and see it," he said. "It's free."

Scott said that he looks forward to putting together more Shakespeare performances in the future.

"It's a lot of fun and we hope to continue bringing Shakespeare to Central Pa.," he said. "We've been doing it for 13 years and if you haven't been to a Gaspipe production of Shakespeare, you're missing out."



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