‘Sword play’ part of Joliet theater’s outdoor Shakespeare performance this weekend

Lori Carmine; ‘Anybody that likes action movies is going to be entertained’

Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and Theatre Shakespeare's "Coriolanus" from Thursday, May 18 to Sunday, May 21 on the outdoor pavilion. The performances will include choreographed fight scenes. Pictured from left are Isaiah Sanchez, Steven Del Real & Leah Meeder and Abby White in the foreground.

Fans of action movies won’t want to miss a live Shakespeare production this weekend at the Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and Theatre in Joliet.

Yes, you read that correctly.

That’s because “Coriolanus” – the play for the third annual Shakespeare & Art in the Park – will feature Roman soldiers in full stage combat, Lori Carmine, park manager, said.

“Ian Emerson and Matt Doge are certified fight choreographers,” Carmine said. “So they were teaching everybody…so anybody that likes action movies is going to be entertained.”

Dodge, as well as Jake Thomas, are local Shakespeare devotees who spearhead and direct the Shakespeare & Art in the Park productions, Carmine said.

“They are trying something new this year, a more traditional version of Shakespeare, set in ancient Rome,” Carmine said. “And they are putting in some sword play. So we have the fight coordinators as well.”

“Anybody that likes action movies is going to be entertained.”

—  Lori Carmine, park manager, Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and Theatre

Carmine said a Shakespeare performance is much different from musical theater.

“There’s more of a focus, a lot more focus, on the language,” Carmine said. “Shakespeare is just known for having such great character relationships. The characters are timeless, which is why they’ve lasted over 500 years. The people don’t change; the people relate to each other.”

Carmine said that, in musical theater, the songs and the music – their rhythm, pace and tempo – provide some of the characterization. But when Shakespeare actors delve into the characters, they must delve into the lines, Carmine said.

“Shakespeare’s got a rhythm and pace,” Carmine said, “but that’s all very much reliant on the actor.”

Carmine said the park setting is beautiful, concessions are available, parking is free and local artists will be displaying and selling their works.

“And it’s free,” Carmine said. “Why wouldn’t someone want to come out?”


WHAT: Shakespeare & Art in the Park

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, (opens 6 pm.) and 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and Theatre, 201 W. Jefferson St. Joliet

ETC: Cash bar and light concessions available for purchase. No outside alcohol allowed. Local artists will display and sell works in various mediums. Bring blankets or chairs for outdoor lawn seating by the pavilion. Performance moves to indoor theater if there is inclement weather. Free parking.

INFO: Call 815-724-3761 or visit BicentennialPark.org.