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June 25, 2024

Shakespeare in Clark Park returns with free outdoor performances of 'As You Like It'

The shows will be held in the park's grassy open-air bowl from Wednesday, July 24, through Sunday, July 28.

Entertainment Theater
shakespeare clark park 2024 Shamus McCarty/Shakespeare in Clark Park

Shakespeare in Clark Park will perform 'As You Like It' from July 24-28. Above, actors Jason Lindner, Tariq Kanu, Cheyenne Parks and Felicity Mundy, who are starring in the production.

In his comedy, "As You Like It," William Shakespeare famously wrote, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." In July, a West Philly park will set the "stage" on which the "players" deliver those very lines.

Shakespeare in Clark Park is offering outdoor performances of "As You Like It" nightly from Wednesday, July 24, through Sunday, July 28. The performances, which are held in the park's grassy open-air bowl, are free to attend and will begin at 7 p.m. each evening.

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"As You Like It," which is set in the forest of Arden, features feuding brothers, disguises, romance and witty banter. The Shakespeare in Clark Park version will take place in "Arden, Delaware circa 2034," and the synopsis is as follows: 

"Delaware is the country's first state, and the Forest of Arden has been deemed a place of exile, simplicity, and lack. But it is there where the exiled experience the true essence of humanity. They are forced to grapple with their self-imposed desires, deferred dreams, preconceived notions, and twisted perspectives on what love is and what love does. Can this newfound sense of community, love, and freedom permeate throughout the country, or will we forever be under the armed hand of dystopianism? Can love truly conquer all?"

The Shakespeare in Clark Park show will be directed by Philly native Ontaria Kim Wilson and will feature an original song by local composer Pax Ressler. Wilson's interpretation will focus on "shifts and displacement of community" and will not simplify the play to a "love story," according to organizers. The production will star Philly-based actors including Cheyenne Parks (Rosalind), Tariq Kanu (Orlando), Felicity Mundy (Celia), Christopher David Roche (Jaques/Silvius) and Jason Lindner (Duke Frederick/Amiens).

Leading up to the play, Shakespeare in Clark Park has been hosting free community poetry workshops inspired by themes of "As You Like It." The final upcoming workshop will focus on "Writing About Exile" and will take place at 2p.m. Sunday, July 7, at the Philadelphia Folklore Project, 735 S. 50th St. Registration is available online. The workshops will culminate in pre-show poetry readings during the opening and closing performances of "As You Like It," and the poems will also be woven into the onstage design of the production.

In the case of inclement weather, "As You Like It" will be performed indoors at the Annenberg Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Shakespeare in Clark Park: 'As You Like It'

Wednesday, July 24, to Sunday, July 28
7 p.m. | Free
The Bowl in Clark Park
4398 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia

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