There’s a new way to watch a play in the area, and you don’t have to sit still to do it. In fact, you’d better have your hiking boots on. NCTV’s Ryan Piers takes us to the trail at the Morton Arborteum to tell us more.
There’s no stage, curtain or scenery, and the audience must bring their own seats. The concept of theater hikes marries the great outdoors with great performances. The company, Theater-Hikes, has been entertaining audiences since their founding in 2001.
“I came up with the idea back in 1997,” says Frank Farrell, Managing Director and Founder of Theater-Hikes. I was hiking and memorizing my lines to a play I was doing and I was all along in the woods and all of a sudden I just said to myself while I was memorizing my lines ‘my voice sounds so good in the woods.’
Then I thought why not bring a whole audience out here on these trails which are often so deserted and set up a play and do it as we go along.
Audience members and the actors alike hike from one scene to the next. In this case, the play “Robin Hood” provides a perfect opportunity to combine theater and nature. Just like in the classic tale of Sherwoods Forest’s own, the actors roam the woods at the Morton Arborteum robbing the rich and giving to the poor.
“You’re in the woods and the story is in the woods. They are all running away to Sherwood Forest. They are exiled into woods. It really fits well,” says Farrell.
Daniel A. Scurek, the director of the play, says the actors’ co-star, Mother Nature, brings her own benefits and challenges to the outdoor performances.
“They might adapt to the wind, sun and given circumstances. The environment actually becomes the setting and that is something we embrace as part of the setting,” says Daniel.
As the seasons change, the production will as well. In August, Theater-Hikes will perform the swashbuckling story of “Peter Pan,” as well as the classic production “Our Town.” In October, the crew will utilize the chilled temperatures and golden leaves of fall to present the haunting tale of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide.” The final performance will take place on Halloween night. Tickets for each show are $8 for children, and $12 for adults.
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