Saturday, November 26, 2022

Colonial Williamsburg’s “The Actor’s Lament” Brings Theatre Back in a Unique Way

Colonial Williamsburg’s new evening program, “The Actor’s Lament” will run from September through November. (WYDaily/Courtesy of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

WILLIAMSBURG — Colonial Williamsburg is introducing a new evening program this fall that allows the audience to be part of the show.

The Actors’ Lament: Or the Really Rotten Luck of the Fledgling Theatre Company” is the latest theatre production from Colonial Williamsburg that tells the comedic story of a theatre company in the late 18th century.

Chaos ensues as the actors try to open their show on time and the audience acts as a fly on the wall to all the hilarity and tragedy.

The “open-air” theatre experience takes place at the Charlton Stage, E. Duke of Gloucester St., which CW’s Director of Entertainment Robert Currie said is part of their plan to use outdoor staging more.

“We started to come up with ideas to bring people more into the historic area at night, and utilize that stage and do something really fun and powerful,” Currie said. 

Written by Abigail Schumann, who has written and directed a number of programs for CW over the years, the play centers around a fictional theatre troupe while interweaving history throughout.

It was so much fun when I read it,” Currie said. “It points to so many different unique things in Williamsburg, and the culture and human interactions. The first person I thought about to direct it was Michelle.”

Michelle Greensmith, director of The Actor’s Lament, said that the Charlton Stage, which seats roughly 300 people, allows for audiences to safely gather and experience the show together.

“It’s been a rough year for a lot of things, but theatre took a big hit,” she said. “And we here at Colonial Williamsburg have been pretty lucky because so much of what we do can be outdoors. So we’ve been able to safely do some form of programming and theatre.”

Made up of a cast of seven, Greensmith said that the show gives the audience the opportunity to engage with the characters.

“There’s the stage itself, but theres lots of space around the stage,” she said. “It’s not hyper-immersive, but it’s definitely an invitation for the audience to sit in and enjoy the hijinks and participate in fun ways throughout.” 

The show will run every Thursday and Saturday, from Sept. 16 through Nov. 6. at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $23, but can be purchased for a special $5-off presale until Sept. 9.

Greensmith said that the show is one that all ages will enjoy.

“I read the script and I was laughing out loud the whole time,” Greensmith said. “I’m grateful to be on board with the project.” 

Currie said that after a year-and-a-half that has been devoid of humor, he looks forward to bringing something that will make people laugh again.

“I can’t wait for that first night just to hear audiences start to laugh together,” he said, “I think that cathartic feeling is going to be something so powerful and special.”

Tickets for “The Actor’s Lament” can be purchased here.

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