BSO & Folger Theatre Combine To Stage Remarkable Shakespeare Adaptation

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two great artistic institutions–the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and D.C.’s Folger Theatre–have combined to stage a truly remarkable adaptation of a Shakespearean classic.

As Mike Schuh reports, the musicians aren’t hidden below in a pit, they are on stage with the actors.

Rehearsal is in full swing. Like the set hanging above the orchestra and actors, it’s a play turned upside down. With a minimal set, the actors work among the musicians on stage.

Two of the lead actors explain.

“Sometimes, it’s feeding into what you’re doing and other times they’re playing against each other. The text and the music are not in synch and that’s what makes it interesting,” said actor Linda Powell.

“Mendleson was inspired by what we’re doing to write his music. So to combine these two things is pretty remarkable,” said actor John Bolger.

Powell credits the director, Edward Berkeley, with the vision to pull off this symphony on the set idea.

“And he called me up and asked if I’d be willing to do this, revisit it with him actually. We’re going back on ground we’ve been on before, but with completely new elements with the symphony,” she said.

Bolger, of General Hospital fame, also credits the director and the orchestra for this collaboration.

“Pretty remarkable. It’s like meeting a wonderful old friend years later who’s done very well,” he said.

Some of the actors are even out with the audience.

“It’s invigorating and thrilling, remarkable to have that around us,” said Bolger. “A great challenge, but also a great pleasure. Really, I mean, how often does this happen? Never. So it’s really kind of like winning the Shakespearean musical lottery.”

The performances start Thursday night at 8 p.m. at the music center at Strathmore. The show moves to the Meyerhoff for performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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