This summer, the free plays presented by the Hip to Hip Theatre Company are William Shakespeare’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” a slapstick comedy involving love, friendship, betrayal and forgiveness; and “Cymbeline,” an adventure combining comedy, tragedy and romance.
“Two Gentlemen” will be performed in hilarious Commedia del’Arte style, using funny masks, and it features one of Shakespeare’s funniest clowns, who will be played by the company’s managing director, Guy Ventoliere.
“It’s like Saturday Night Live with classic characters,” Jason Marr, the play’s director and Hip to Hip’s artistic director, said. “It’s about two young friends who fall in love with the same girl.”
In “Cymbeline,” Marr will play both leading male characters, Posthumous and Cloten, and his wife Joy, Hip to Hip’s other co-founder, will play the female lead, Imogen.
The 90-minute performances will be presented in parks all around Queens, including Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Crocheron Park in Bayside, Cunningham Park, St. Albans Park, Gantry Plaza State Park and Agawam Park. The Voelker Orth Museum, a restored Victorian house at 149-19 38th Ave. in Flushing, will welcome “Cymbeline” at 7:30 p.m. on July 30, and “Two Gentlemen of Verona” at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 13.
A half-hour before every performance, an entertaining interactive session, “Kids and the Classics,” will be conducted. Every child who participates will receive a special diploma with an illustration of Shakespeare.
Now in its eighth summer, Hip to Hip has more diversity in its casts. Its new board member, Gabourey Sidibe, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her acting debut, in the 2009 movie “Precious.” For several years, she has been co-starring in the television show “American Horror Story.”
This year, you can print out flyers from their website, www.hiptohip.org, to share with your friends, or to distribute to any organization you know whose members would enjoy outdoor performances. If you would like to volunteer to help out with your local production, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (718) 729-8567.
Information about the times and locations of the performances is available on the website. Most performances start at 7:30 p.m., except for Socrates Sculpture Park, where they begin at 5 p.m.