Photo courtesy of Urban Impact
By Donnie Mangino
On Thursday, August 18 at the New Hazlett Theater, Urban Impact Shakes will present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” combining the original text with music and a flare of relatable modernity.
Now in its seventh season, Urban Impact Shakes is a summer Shakespeare Company comprised of diverse youth and professional actors.
According to a press release, Eric Anderson, assistant director of Performing Arts, said the students in the cast come from a range of areas within Pittsburgh from the North Hills to the Northside. Descending from unique socio-economic and racial boundaries, it may seem like the only thing some of these actors can relate to is Shakespeare. However, when asked to describe the group, Melanie Taylor, a five-season Shakes veteran stated, “We’re like a family.”
With perpetual headlines of racially charged violence across the media, Anderson said “It was tempting to choose a hard-hitting, political piece, but the more I thought about it the more I was convinced that what we need now is love and laughter.”
“Shakes is unique because our students stop the action of the play and tell their own personal accounts throughout the show,” Anderson said. “The audience will hear true stories of loss, hope, and love, as well as the hilarious Shakespeare play.”
“‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is set in a forest where powerful fairies are the embodiment of art, pristine lovers are quickly disheveled, and the local hipsters just want to put on a play. To include, the audience is encouraged to bring their phones and sit in the ‘Phone Zone’ where the show can be followed on Snapchat through the lenses of various characters,” Anderson said in a press release.
“Some of the best relationships I’ve made have been through theatre, that’s why I created Shakes, to intentionally mentor students who have leadership potential,” Anderson said.
Performances are happening August 18 and 20 from 8-9:30pm, and August 21 from 2-3:30pm. Tickets for the show are $12.00 in advance, $8.00 for students, and available at www.showclix.vom/event/dream or by calling 412-513-4760.