JUPITER, Fla. — The 32nd annual Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival is performing William Shakespeare's "Richard II" this weekend in Jupiter.
The free outdoor event runs July 7-10 and July 14-17 at the Seabreeze Amphitheater in Carlin Park before moving to Commons Park in Royal Palm Beach July 21-24.
Organizers said if you've only read Shakespeare, you're missing out.
"Because it was never written in order to be read. Shakespeare wrote plays and, of course, the sonnets to be read, but the plays were written in order to be performed," co-producer of the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival Elizabeth Dashiell said. "The reason why they are still performed around the world to this day is because he wrote about the human experience. And that is something that doesn't change, whether he's writing about something that took place in the 1300s or today. Anyone who comes out and sees a professionally performed production of Shakespeare's works, you're going to understand it perfectly. So, I kind of get a little down when people only know about Shakespeare reading because that's not the way you're supposed to experience Shakespeare."
The 20-second costume changes of Richard II
But why is it considered Shakespeare's "most dangerous play?"
It's not because of the choreographed sword fighting. It's about challenging power in changing times, something the church banned for a brief part of history.
"There is a deposition scene in this play where the king is formally deposed. And that's a really dangerous thing in the context of the play," the show's director Trent Stephens said. "For our purposes, we chose this play because it calls [out] the corporate traditional power structures, and I think that that's something that's a part of our consciousness right now. This place seems to emerge and reemerge throughout history during times of political skepticism."
Organizers encourage everyone to come out and see the play.
"Everyone is invited to bring their beach chair, their blankets, [and] any beverages they like. We have concessions available here, and you just sit back you relax," Dashiell said. "You enjoy this beautiful night under the stars with the ocean breeze picking up across the entire field, and a simply gorgeous production of 'Richard II' performed by a professional company with fully professionally produced tech, a lot of fun and excitement and action. It moves really quickly and you're going to understand what's going on during the entire show. I promise you, it's free of charge with a suggested donation of $5."
The Props and Music of "Richard II"
Hap Erstein wrote in his review in Palm Beach Art's Paper that "Palm Beach Shakespeare Fest's 'Richard II' persuades with strong lead performances."