How you can participate in a virtual production of a Shakespeare play
Even though the Mundelein Arts Commission has canceled its planned summertime production of "The Comedy of Errors" because of the COVID-19 crisis, a show of sorts will go on.
The village-sponsored organization is inviting anyone who lives or works in Lake County -- regardless of age or talent -- to participate in a virtual production of "The Taming of the Shrew."
Volunteers will be assigned dialogue and be asked to film one-minute excerpts of the famed play, and the clips will be edited together and then released online.
Dubbed "Sofa Shakespeare," the effort allows participants to be as creative -- or lazy -- as they want. They can use props, puppets or any other visual aide in their reading. They can put their pets or children on camera, recite their lines in foreign languages or even sing.
Or, as the project's name implies, they can sit on their sofas and read right off their tablets or cellphones.
"These are incredibly strange times for everyone," said Justin Frieman Charles, a Mundelein Arts Commission member and the event's organizer. "With public performances on hold for the foreseeable future, we wanted to provide an opportunity for our community to perform and enjoy Shakespeare from the safety of their homes."
The arts commission decided to stage "The Comedy of Errors" after it topped a community survey, Frieman Charles said, and "The Taming of the Shrew" ranked second in popularity.
But then the pandemic hit, and plans had to change.
Frieman Charles was inspired to create a virtual production after learning of a California actor who staged a similar show after that state was hit by a stay-at-home order.
"I contacted her for guidance on the process and permission to use the name 'Sofa Shakespeare,'" Frieman Charles said.
The Mundelein group chose to put on "Shrew" virtually because a director already had been working on the planned "Comedy of Errors" production, which will be staged at a later date, Frieman Charles said.
Organizers are editing the "Shrew" production act by act, and they'll be uploaded to YouTube that way. The first act is nearly done and should be ready for viewing this month, Frieman Charles said.
The project doesn't have a deadline. Organizers will assign dialogue and accept submissions until the play is completed.
Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz said he and his wife, Michelle, both plan to apply for a "Taming of the Shrew" segment. "My wife and I love that play," Lentz said. "It should be a lot of fun."
To learn more or to sign up, visit mundelein.org/Home/Components/News/News/146/102.