POLAND – Alexz Wight and Bryant Cyr are hoping to bring Shakespeare to the masses this summer.

The two 19-year-olds from Poland are creating a traveling troupe called the Poland Players, which will roam the state performing pieces from “Macbeth” and “Taming of the Shrew.”

Wight and Cyr graduated from Poland Regional High School in 2007 and both attend Westfield State College in Massachusetts, where they are active in the school’s theater program. Returning to Maine for the summer, they decided to put their passion for Shakespearean theater into action.

Their goal: to create a mobile version of Shakespeare in the Park to be performed throughout the state free of charge, in the tradition of the Central Park performances. Shakespeare in the Park was conceived by Joseph Papp, founder of the New York Public Theater, in 1954. It began as a series of workshops on Shakespeare that became free performances, which continue today in the summertime.

In the style of Shakespeare in the Park, performances will be held without staging or sets, and with few props. They will likely be open-air.

“It’s a niche that no one else in the area is filling,” said Wight of the Shakespearean drama they will perform.

Auditions have been held, and they have cast about 10 parts with a handful of perspective players yet to be given roles, said Wight, adding: “We’re still looking for help.”

Wight and Cyr have been aided along the way by their mentor, D’Arcy Robinson, director of the theater program at Poland Regional High School. It was Robinson who picked the plays “Macbeth” and “Taming of the Shrew.” She also drummed up support – and actors – at the high school.

“Most of our kids are from the school, and some are local,” said Wight.

The group will spend the next six weeks rehearsing. Hopefully, by the end of July, Wight said, they will begin giving performances. Unfortunately, this cast of Poland Players will appear only through August. “When we go back to school, that’s it,” Wight said.

Wight and Cyr said they are willing to go “pretty much anywhere in the state” to stage their performances. And transportation? “Probably carpooling,” Wight laughed.

The Poland Players is still looking for actors as well as technical support. Interested parties may contact Wight at (207) 333-7026 or Cyr at (207) 212-4471. Those interested in hosting a performance should contact Robinson at 998-5400, extension 218.


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