Nebraska Shakespeare held the 33rd annual Shakespeare on the Green over the summer in Elmwood Park, allowing Omaha residents to attend and dive into the world and mind of William Shakespeare.
The group of talented actors wowed the audience with their performances in “All’s Well That Ends Well,” a story of a woman’s obsessive love and “Hamlet,” a tragedy that follows a young man recovering from the death of his father and a struggle with his destiny.
Sarah Brown, a UNO alum and theatre performance major, is the interim artistic director for Nebraska Shakespeare and directed a production of “All’s Well That Ends Well,” which consisted of an all-female cast.
“Nebraska Shakespeare is committed to diverse and equitable hiring,” Brown said. “So, I love providing space for artists to use their voice and create dynamic stories.”
Brown auditioned actors from all over the country including New York, Minneapolis, Houston and Omaha. The cast rehearsed at Creighton University six days a week before the shows’ openings. Sophie Knauss, a junior theatre major at UNO, participated in “All’s Well That Ends Well.”
A“For me, the best part about acting is finding yourself in any character you play,” Knauss said. “Even if it’s a character that you seem nothing like in person, you understand and relate your own experiences to theirs. It really helps with understanding and finding new perspectives in everyday life.”
Before the show, cast members presented a brief synopsis of the play to give audience members that aren’t familiar with Shakespeare and his vernacular an idea of what they would be watching. Even cast members had to work every day to memorize their lines.
“The language of Shakespeare can be intimidating at first glance, but it becomes so much easier when you know exactly what you’re saying,” Knauss said. “I would go through each of my lines and translate them into modern text, and once I knew the meaning of them, they became easier to memorize, and I had a better idea of how to deliver them.”
Nebraska Shakespeare partnered with Zipline Brewery to give attendees of legal age the opportunity to have an alcoholic beverage while they watch the show unfold onstage. Food vendors also provided pizza, popcorn and lemonade, although outside food and beverages were allowed for people that preferred to save their money.
This free event happens for two weeks each summer and encourages those unfamiliar with the theatre to test the waters in a comfortable environment.