TRAVERSE CITY — Riverside Shakespeare may not be able to prevent ducks from waddling through the middle of its outdoor performances, but the company has figured out a way to avoid loud motorcycle engines that drown the actors out.
“On the weekend that the ‘Ride for Father Fred’ motorcyclists are in town, we leave and travel to another venue,” said Jill Beauchamp, who co-founded the theater group that has annually used Hannah Park along the Boardman River in Traverse City as its home base. “We don’t want to compete with the motorcycles, so we schedule them in.”
The Harleys can roar freely in Traverse City later this month without fear of interrupting the show because the Shakespearean troupe will be entertaining audiences in Elk Rapids and Fife Lake that weekend.
But first the company will launch its 14th season in Leland on Thursday with Shakespeare’s comedy, “All’s Well that Ends Well.” The performance will take place outdoors by the Old Arts Building starting at 7 p.m. The spot is one of six waterfront venues the company will rotate to this season.
Of the 16 comedies that Shakespeare wrote, Riverside Shakespeare has performed 10 already. Beauchamp believes the comedies are a good fit for the company.
“It’s summer, it’s time to lighten up,” she said.
Director Jeanette Mason said the group is putting its own stamp of lightheartedness on the upcoming show. She said the additional humor is helpful to the audience due to the nature of the play, which is known as one of Shakespeare's "problem" plays.
"We really don’t know if it’s a problem or a comedy," she said, adding that there's always something to throw the audience off. “We’ve added a lot of slapstick to it. We’re making it more kitsch-y.”