SHAKESPEARE IN ROSELLE PARK (PLAYS IN THE PARK) PROPOSAL & POINTS OF DISCUSSION FOR THE “FRIENDS OF THE ROSELLE PARK LIBRARY”
JUNE 8, 2010
To have a program sponsored by The Friends of the Roselle Park Library that would have plays be performed live in parks and open-spaces throughout the borough.
The Roselle Park Veterans Memorial Library is in need of exposure to the relevance and contribution it offers to the community. Utilizing The Friends of the Roselle Park Library to organize and offer community-based activities will assist in making the library become a positive and relied-upon focal point of Roselle Park residents.
In discussions with Anthony Giordano, the issue of getting people interested in a writer's workshop and, by default, the library came up. There was talk of staging plays, having readings, starting a writer’s group, along with other suggestions, and the experienced observation was made that people like to go to an ‘event’ - an innovative quality or feature that would make a function feel unique or special. In doing research, there was an idea of having a local version of "Shakespeare in the Park", calling it either “Shakespeare in the Roselle Park” or “Shakespeare in Roselle Park”. This could then be developed into a “Plays in Roselle Park” annual event sponsored by The Friends Of The Roselle Park Library. The ‘event’ aspect of these plays come in their performances being held outside throughout various parks in town. There is a time constraint to keep in mind as to whether to start the initial season in 2010 or 2011. If the decision is to start this year, there could be a premiere offering of one (1) staging of a condensed (between 30 and 45 minutes) and perhaps modernized version of a Shakespeare play that could be performed in early September. It would start at Michael Mauri Park, on the corner of Grant Avenue and Chestnut Street, where people could bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. There would then be an intermission which would allow people to walk to the front lawn of the Roselle Park Library, where the play would finish. Once the play is over, tables could be made available to have people join The Friends of the Roselle Park Library and/or sign-up for a writer’s workshop which would be held at the library. If the decision is made to start this project in 2011, the premiere season would consist of three (3) Shakespeare plays from June to August. The plays could be held at Michael Mauri Park, Loretti Park (on Faitoute Avenue across from Aldene Park), Boy Scout Park, LaMonaco/Perry Park (on Laurel Avenue next to the First Aid Squad), or any other open area in the borough.
There are matters that need to be addressed in order to begin and maintain this proposal successfully. Listed below are some major points: 1)
Promotion / Publicity - This is one of the major issues which will determine the success or failure of this proposal. The publicity will need to address everything from audition notices to promotion for the actual performances. The best avenue for such a task would need to include notices in the local papers as well as notices throughout town in schools, the community center, borough hall, and businesses. The actual posters could be made in the style of old English posters. The costs associated with this aspect will need to be determined and budgeted. Posters will be donated.
Director / Writer / Actors - The scope of this proposal will require a crew of between 10 - 15 people. If there is not enough interest from performers, there is no success. The decision will have to be made as to whether to have a paid crew, volunteers, or a combination thereof. Additionally, research will need to be made with regard to unionized regulations if the plays are performed by paid actors. The writing of the play and rehearsals will need to be scheduled and maintained.
Performances - A popular play, such as Romeo & Juliet or Hamlet, should be the initial play in order to garner the most immediate interest. Additionally, the play should perhaps be performed with a mixture of original text and modern text and allow for a modern backdrop. This would alleviate the cost of costumes while making the ‘event’ more accessible to as large an audience as possible. A decision should be made on the frequency of the performance - either once every other Sunday for a month or one weekend (Saturday and Sunday) a month. The high school should be contacted to see which Shakespeare plays are being studied at the beginning of the year and a program of movie nights and “Book Of The Month” style promotion should be done at the library to give the most all-round publicity for the library and event.
Insurance & Filming - The matter of finding what insurance issues exist with the Borough needs to be addressed since the parks are Borough property. Applications for use of those parks will need to be submitted in a timely fashion. Additionally, if the decision is made to film the performances, a filming permit will need to be filed.
This project will need to be managed by a person appointed and agreed upon by The Friends of the Roselle Park Library and he/she will need to maintain constant contact with as well as provide consistent updates to The Friends of the Roselle Park Library and the library director.
The task of having a “Plays in Roselle Park” is by no means simple but if it is done correctly the first time, the subsequent seasons should become easier to handle as they would follow the model of the premiere season which should complete a “Lessons Learned” report that can work as a handbook. The recommendation to have one play this year would be beneficial because it would let the interest in the idea turn into action since the time between now and September is short. It would also give a test-run of this proposal to see if next year it would be productive to continue with the idea, from the point of view of the Friends, the performers, and the audience. The future should be open to have outside companies or repertoires use Roselle Park, through The Friends of the Roselle Park Library or the library itself, as the sponsor for plays they would like to preview in our borough before performing them at their own venue. If successful, future outdoor performances could include a non-Shakespeare, general play reading in the fall (late September or early October) and a spring preview or revue in late April or early May.
This proposal does have considerable potential to be an excellent promotion for The Friends of the Roselle Park Library and the library itself. With that stated, serious consideration and awareness of everything involved does need to be understood. The reason for the proposal was to not only have a discussion of this idea but to allow for any additional logistical issues that need to be mentioned and discussed or to see if this proposal can be combined into an amalgam of other ideas.
Comments / Suggestions: