Shakespeare plays live in Teaneck
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Shakespeare plays live in Teaneck

Noah Gluck, left, who plays Sebastian, with Molly Hopkin, who plays Cesario/Viola.
Noah Gluck, left, who plays Sebastian, with Molly Hopkin, who plays Cesario/Viola.

Envision Theater, a local educational theater company, is offering its first “Shakespeare Live” production, “Twelfth Night,” featuring the Envision Theater Acting Troupe. The three performances — with audience and actors masked and socially distanced — are set for Sunday, August 9, at 11 a.m., and then 2:30 and 5:30 p.m., will be on a backyard stage. The one-hour adaptation mixes original and modern text and is set to modern music. The show is appropriate audiences for all ages.

Envision Theater partners with more than 15 yeshivot and Jewish day schools and is known for its in-school and afterschool theater arts programs and productions.

Benny Edelman as Sir Toby Belch.

According to Rebecca Lopkin of Teaneck, the group’s artistic director and founder, Envision typically does not run summer programming, but this year is different. “All of the spring productions we ran we unfortunately canceled due to covid 19,” she said. “There are so many high school seniors who did not have the opportunity to perform their spring show live so I decided to reach out to many of the students I’ve worked with, who just graduated and have free time this summer. I asked if they would be up for working on a live Shakespeare play to be rehearsed and performed in my backyard, with masks and social distancing rules in place.” The answer to her question, she said, was “a resounding, enthusiastic yes!”

The cast of nine, all recent graduates of the Torah Academy of Bergen County, the Frisch School, and Bruriah High School for Girls, includes Benny Edelman, Adam Gluck, Noah Gluck, Itai Hudes, Alissa Knopf, Rami Levin, Molly Lopkin, Avigayil Rosenbluth, and Daniel Rothstein.

“There is simply nothing like the connection and energy created through a live performance,” Ms. Lopkin continued. “Zoom shows are wonderful — but they are not theater. There are no live audience reactions for the actors to feed on, no laugher, no applause. We are having a blast rehearsing our show live, even with masks on, battling the humidity.”

Audiences can identify with the show, particularly during this time of pandemic; “In classic Shakespearean comedy, characters experience love, loss, and friendship,” Ms. Lopkin said.

The audience’s seats will be set up six feet apart and all actors and audience members will wear masks, she added.

Reservations are required. Tickets are $5 each and a portion of the profits will go to the Actor’s Fund to help out the theater community, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. To reserve a seat, email Ms. Lopkin at Envisiontheater4kids@gmail.com.

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