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Parking is such sweet sorrow: ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in a car park

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Forget Shakespeare in the park — this is Shakespeare in the parking lot.

A local theater troupe is bringing a free, outdoors production of “Romeo and Juliet” to the streets of Park Slope on July 25–26 and August 15. The three-night run follows on from South Brooklyn Shakespeare’s one-night production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” last year, which the company says drew 300 people to a lot on Fifth Avenue.

Company co-founder Paul Molnar said he was inspired by the original Shakespeare in the parking lot shows in Manhattan, which took place across the street from him when he first moved to New York City in the mid ’90s.

“I was so amazed that a group of artists could come together and produce work like that,” said Molnar, who staged the first show near his bar, South, between 17th and 18th streets.

The lot wasn’t available this year, so the shows will take place in the middle of Fifth and Seventh avenues during the neighborhood’s Summer Strolls events, when the streets will be closed off to traffic.

But putting on a production in an urban environment is no walk in the parking lot, Molnar and his company have discovered.

“The stage will be on an uneven surface so we will have to shim the stage and we can’t really tell how high or low the stage will be,” he said, adding that they will also have to wrangle power, lights, and a sound system. “These are all big challenges because we are counting on the kindness of our fellow business owners to get on board with the project and help us with power.”

And that is not accounting for the weather — the group was hit with a torrential downpour when it was setting up last year, Molnar said. The massive storm lasted until 30 minutes before curtain, when the clouds parted and it became a beautiful night in the parking lot. Even with the rain, he said, hundreds of people showed up.

“I kept wondering how many would have come if it had been clear all day,” said Molnar, who has been performing outdoor theater as an actor since 1991.

The three performances will be free and audience members will need to bring their own seating and concessions, but Molnar said they can still expect a show worthy of an indoors theater.

“Telling the story through staging, emotion, understanding, and music is how I approach any play I direct,” he said.

“Romeo and Juliet” (Fifth Avenue between 17th and 18th streets in Park Slope, www.southbrooklynshakespeare.com), July 25 at 7:30 pm; (Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets in Park Slope) July 26 at 2:30 pm; and (Fifth Avenue at Dean Street in Park Slope) August 15 at 7:30 pm. Free.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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