HART's Shakespeare on the Canal hits snag

Artistic Director Michael Shelton has continued plans for HART, despite the setback. Photo by Mark Lee.

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Actors Repertory Theatre; White River State Park, Aug. 6-8; directed by Michael

Shelton. All works by William Shakespeare were not created equal. Some, like The

Two Gentlemen of Verona, can come off as deeply complicated or merely confused, depending

on the degree of reverence one brings to the Bard. Director Michael Shelton

seems to play the text pretty much as it lays from scene to scene, which

renders this production neither funny enough nor dark enough to sustain its

nearly three hour (with intermission) running time.

That

said, HART's annual Shakespeare production in White River State Park makes

wonderful use of the park's commodious yet remarkably intimate amphitheater.

Saturday night's performance was well-attended, indicating that the makings are

here for the emergence of a new Indianapolis tradition. This is the kind of

program the city should embrace with both arms, finding the funding to enable

HART to produce not just a single play, but a summer season.

This

would not only generate sorely needed pedestrian traffic along the

underutilized downtown canal, it would also enable HART to turn its

considerable collective ability into a truly formidable force. Taking potential

like this in hand is why some cities create departments of cultural affairs.

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