Shakespeare in the Park: The show must go on for Emily Bergl

Heidi Schreck and Emily Bergl in The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of The Comedy of Errors, directed by Daniel Sullivan, running at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park through June 30. Credit: Joan Marcus
Heidi Schreck and Emily Bergl in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of “The Comedy of Errors.” Credit: Joan Marcus

The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park is a New York City institution. For 50 years, thespians have alighted in Central Park to perform for all New Yorkers (the tickets, gloriously, are free.) And now actress Emily Bergl, who portrays Adriana in “The Comedy of Errors,” is part of this grand tradition — even the part where she gets drenched, as there is hardly ever a cancellation due to weather.

June, so far, has not had the nicest weather for performing at the open-air Delacorte Theater. How have you handled the weather?
We did it on Thursday [June 6] and it rained every second of the performance. There is a point in the show where I fall down flat on my face and I actually came up with rainwater in my mouth. Unless it’s a tropical storm with a name, like Andrea, where we had to cancel that night’s performance, we are doing the show.

Has it been fun, even in the rain?
Every time I walk into Central Park, I want to sing. It’s absolutely magical. We have such a wonderful company — we laugh all day long. It’s one of the things that makes living in New York so special. But it’s also very hard work.

Does speaking in old English use a different part of your acting brain?
In a lot of other plays, you naturally know how to say the lines to make people understand them. But with Shakespeare, you have to think more about how to communicate the message. We’re doing a broad comedy, so we can be bold and brave in our physical choices. I was jealous of the men doing all of their fights, so I managed to introduce some physical comedy for myself.

How do you describe “The Comedy of Errors” for those who might not know this work of Shakespeare’s?
I would say it is a hilarious comedy about mistaken identity with tons of heart. And, well, me.

The tickets are free, but the line to get them starts very early. Any insider tips on getting in?
A lot of people think they have to wait in the ticket line in the morning. But what they should do is get in the cancellation line, so you don’t have to go at 6 a.m. I have gotten tickets in the cancellation line. And, hey — the food is so good, even if you don’t get in, you can have a glorious picnic in Central Park.

If you go

“The Comedy of Errors”
Through June 30
8:30 p.m.
The Delacorte Theater
Central Park
www.shakespeareinthepark.org


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