Best Pivot

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s A Late Summer Night’s Stroll

Staff Pick

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked absolute havoc on the live entertainment industry, as crowds are discouraged, singing (and thereby flinging respiratory droplets and aerosols everywhere) is problematic and even the simple act of gathering with others to rehearse a performance could quickly become a super-spreading event. But great artists are nothing if not adaptable. Take the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s inspired decision to pivot from their planned main-stage production of Much Ado About Nothing into a literal walk in the park. Dubbed “A Late Summer Night’s Stroll,” the group’s loose interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was brought to life in August in Forest Park, with fourteen elaborately decorated archways throughout the grounds serving as the setting for vignettes and scenes staged by a plethora of local performing artists. A self-guided tour through the numbered arches allowed the story to unfold piece by piece — and, crucially, allowed performers and attendees alike to enjoy a show in a safe setting. It was a vast undertaking that relied on the talents of dozens of St. Louis’ finest artists — and, critically, on their ability to create even when that act itself requires getting a bit creative. — Daniel Hill

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