The weather was picture-perfect on Friday night as several dozen gathered at the Lyndale Park Rose Garden for the opening performance of Cromulent Shakespeare Company’s Troilus and Cressida, which will be seen throughout June at parks from Maple Grove to Eagan.
Working with bare-bones costumes and props, the cast thow themselves into the drama with the vigor and tenacity of buskers who know that you didn’t pay to see the show, so you might well walk away at any moment. The play—an epic of lust and pride set during the Trojan War and inspired by The Illiad—is with some reason one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known plays, but not a line is wasted as the Cromulent players relish in the Bard’s rich language.
The strong troupe are well-cast by director Ariel Pinkerton, and each performer makes a strong impression. Particularly notable is Lacey Piotter in the lead role of Cressida. I’ve enjoyed Piotter in a couple of slighter entertainments, but given this more substantial material she’s a truly commanding presence. In a play full of big emotions, hers register most clearly in the wide-open venue.
You’re not likely to soon have a better, free-er, or more seasonally appropriate way to enjoy this rarely-performed play. Check Cromulent’s Web site for dates and venues, then hie thee to the park—though take a tip from me and bring a camp chair upon which to rest your weary loins. That whole Spartan thing is so 146 BCE.
For more photos from Troilus and Cressida, see the Daily Planet’s Facebook page.