Outdoor Shakespeare to return to Starr Jaycee Park in Royal Oak

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published June 24, 2021

 Local actor and director Lynch R. Travis, of Southfield, will make his directorial debut with Shakespeare Royal Oak this summer. Travis is directing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Starr Jaycee Park Aug. 5-8.

Local actor and director Lynch R. Travis, of Southfield, will make his directorial debut with Shakespeare Royal Oak this summer. Travis is directing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Starr Jaycee Park Aug. 5-8.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROYAL OAK — The Bard is back.

Shakespeare Royal Oak has resurrected the classic comedy by William Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the same show that opened its premiere season in August 2001. The 10-actor cast will begin rehearsals in July, and five performances will take place in Starr Jaycee Park Aug. 5-8.

Local actor and director Lynch R. Travis, of Southfield, will make his directorial debut with Shakespeare Royal Oak. Travis has worked with many groups, including the Purple Rose Theatre, the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Michigan Actors Studio, Mosaic Youth Theatre, Ann Arbor Public Schools and Wayne State University.

“We are pleased and excited to welcome Lynch to the Shakespeare Royal Oak family,” Shakespeare Royal Oak Founder and Executive Director Ed Nahhat said in a prepared statement. “As one of Detroit’s most-renowned theatre artists, we’re fortunate to have him take the artistic helm for our big show in Starr Jaycee Park this summer.”

The nonprofit held virtual auditions in May and a record 90 people signed up.

“It was pretty amazing,” Travis said. “We were able to somehow decide on the 10 best. It’s hard — there’s not enough work. … Some people in the cast I’ve worked with before, many I have not, but many I know by reputation. I’m really looking forward to working with them.”

Travis said his version of the play will take place in the Woodstock era, with costume and set designers already hard at work on setting the scene.

“The script we’re using is an adaptation by Terry Carpenter,” he said. “We’re going to have a little fun with elements of the play that involve psychedelics and costuming. … It’s in the era of enjoying summer and freedom, and it also gives us an opportunity to do double-casting for some of the characters.”

The configuration of the outdoor stage will also be different than in previous years, he said, with audience members able to view actors from three sides of the stage, which will include three platforms and embrace the forest setting.

“Part of that is because we needed to do some social distancing,” Travis said. “We’re going to do everything possible to make it an enjoyable, safe environment every which way, from how you can get tickets to seating, and follow guidelines set by the industry for doing live theater in a pandemic.”

He encouraged the community to come out for a fun evening.

“This is one of the first groups to come back and do live theater, which has been absent in our lives for the last couple of years,” Travis said. “I’m really looking forward to all breathing the same air and watching the same art at the same time.”

Starr Jaycee Park is located at 1321 W. 13 Mile Road, east of Crooks Road.

Tickets for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are on sale now at shakespeareroyaloak.com.

For more information, call (248) 399-3727.

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