SARATOGA SPRINGS: Much ado in summer

"We are absolutely thrilled about the grant. A permanent stage gives us a quality playing area and enables our directors and actors to work more confidently," Finlay said. "Since we debuted in 2000 with a production of 'Twelfth Night,' the company's mission has been to establish a tradition of free professional Shakespearean productions to all who live and visit Saratoga Springs during the summer season. With a permanent stage, we increase our contribution to the cultural life of the community."

This summer's production of "Much Ado About Nothing" marks the debut of the permanent, portable playing space. Designed by members of the company, and constructed by Finlay, the stage aims at a modern version of the playing areas of Shakespeare's time, at the Globe and other theaters. It features twin doors for exits and entrances; raised platforms for balcony scenes; a trapdoor for ghosts, graves and pits; and a hidden "discovery" area.

"We hope it provides the audience a sense of what it was like to watch Shakespeare's plays in 1600 " by daylight in the open air, with your imagination joining with the actors speaking this beautiful language to create theatrical magic," said Finlay.

Finlay thanks his supporters and encourages everyone to come to the park and enjoy some Shakespeare.

"We get a lot of support. We have a very loyal fan base, but we always love to see new faces," he said.

"Much Ado About Nothing" will be performed on the Alfred Z. Solomon Stage in historic Congress Park Tuesday through Saturday, July 24-28, at 6 p.m. and Sunday, July 29, at 2 p.m.

Saratoga Shakespeare's productions are performed at no cost to the audience. Donations are accepted after the show on a "pass the hat" basis. No tickets are needed. Audience is first come, first served and more than 1,000 can be accommodated each day.


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