Shakespeare in the Park(ing lot)

By: Ophelia’s biggest fan

As some may know, this year’s spring play has been canceled due to, in Shakespearean fashion, a tragedy of logistics: auditorium availability. Luckily, the theatre department did not miss a beat and got to work right away on an alternative approach to the performance arts: Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.

Self-explanatory in nature, Shakespeare in the Park is the practice of doing a Shakespeare play in a park (or, in this case, Central’s renowned new parking lot). The production of Hamlet, or Ham-let-me-out-of-this-spot, will take place tri-daily during spring break. 

Due to the trials and tribulations of sharing a functioning parking lot between cars and thespians, the rehearsal schedule has had to take a unique approach. A study conducted by The Central High School Parking Lot Association found that the hours of minimum human parking lot use are between 1AM and 4AM. They tried to rehearse between those hours, but the rat situation in that time slot was so unworkable that they had to switch to after school rehearsals.

Business hours parking lot users have had positive things to say about the sharing set up. “It’s nice to finish out my school day seeing the cast do their acting warm ups. It really cures my parking lot rage when I hear those high pitched vocal warm ups,” says student Thea Tre Lovvér.

From my interviews, the stage crew expressed feelings of “confusion” “frustration”, and “exasperation” when first approached with the plan, which includes having to de- and reconstruct the stage and set before and after each rehearsal, respectively. Stage crew secretary Ina Woodshredder stated, “We will have to have a bake sale every period of the day for the next two years in order to pay for the stage outside. But, when we thought about spending all of our time on that exfoliating asphalt, we just couldn’t say no.” 

A major part of Hamlet is the scene in which Ophelia drowns in the river. Lucky for us, we have a river just waiting to happen in the driveway. The anti-environmentalist club has generously offered to create a flood so that we can have a river. The cast and crew are asking anyone and everyone they can reach to sign this petition to bring the infamous 281 parking lot boat back for the production. They have started the hashtag #bringbacktheboat online to further their movement.

  The cast has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of weather woes, melting sidewalks, and broken down cars. “The costume changing situation is definitely tricky” says actor Poli Sinus playing Polonius. “There’s no enclosed space close enough to the stage, so we just have to run into the woods every time.” 

   The famed blizzard of 2023 hit the cast and crew of Ham-let-me-out-of-this-spot just as hard as the rest of the school and Philadelphia community as a whole. Because they were behind schedule, the director insisted that they stay in the parking lot the day of the storm, even after the rest of the school had vacated the premises on account of the early snow dismissal. The results were bleak; “We were snowed in for two days!” says actress Sto Psign, playing Gertrude. “One second you’re reciting your monologue and the next you’re reciting your name and age to make sure you don’t have a concussion.” 

The warm days have also been challenging for the cast. George Bush III, who is playing  the role of Tree #3, said, “One day I was standing on the asphalt for so long that I melted into it. The gardening club had to dig me out.” 

  The one, perhaps most unfortunate incident was that of the Hamlet hit and run. A parking lot driver mistook a member of the cast wearing all red for a stop sign, which caused them to pull to a sudden stop, resulting in a subsequent accident. When the cast member in all red realized what had happened, they ran away into the woods. Neither cast, crew, nor recess volleyball players have seen the student since. Maybe they’ll turn up next year for the anticipated production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Neither cast nor crew can wait for everyone to see the show. There will be multiple seating options for this. Car ownership will be necessary in order to attend. You can buy your passes now in room 205!

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