LawnChair Theatre begins run of ‘The Tempest’ in Rye tonight, comes to New Rochelle July 22

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In its thirteenth season, the LawnChair Theatre company is again touring Westchester, this season to offer Shakespeare’s final play, “The Tempest.” Over the course of nine days starting tonight in Rye, the theater company will perform seven times at six different outdoor venues across Westchester County.

The company will open the tour at the Village Green in Rye tonight at 6:30 p.m. There is no admittance fee, but a donation of $20 for adults and $10 for seniors and students is suggested. Bringing a picnic as well as your favorite lawn chair or blanket is encouraged.

Led by co-founders Peter Green and Carin Zakes Green, LawnChair Theatre is taking a stance on the plastics polluting the world’s oceans in this production.

“Our director, Julie Thaxter-Gourlay, a LawnChair veteran, has set the show on a plastic garbage island,” said Carin Zakes Green. “Our sets and costumes are being constructed from recycled materials in order to call attention to the over-abundance of plastics in our oceans.”

LawnChair is working closely with local environmental groups such as the Hudson Riverkeeper and Westchester County’s director of energy conservation and sustainability.

“We’ve all become much more aware of the environmental issues surrounding plastics, and we’ve had to rethink the way we work as a company,” said Zakes Green. “We realized that we could not be talking about sustainability and sell plastic water bottles at our performances.” At the shows, LawnChair will be selling boxed water, as well as reusable water bottles.

Production designer Alexandra Theodoropoulos has contributed to LawnChair’s environmental message. “She is fashioning our props and set decoration out of bottles and materials that the cast and crew have collected over the past few months,” said Zakes Green.

The cast is made up of a majority of veteran faces. However, about 40 percent of the players are performing as LawnChair actors for the very first time this year.

“We’ve had a smooth rehearsal process,” said Zakes Green. “We started in early May to accommodate the many vacation conflicts that inevitably come with summer shows.”

The cast has been practicing outside in the park during evenings to prepare for the outdoor shows. “The weather has been excellent,” said Zakes Green. “Let’s hope it holds for the next two weeks!”

“We expect an excellent turnout” at the Village Green for tonight’s production, she said. “Last year, we performed inside the library because of threat of rain. We are hoping for a chance to perform on the beautiful lawn.”

After opening “The Tempest” on the green,  LawnChair will bring the show to Chappaqua, Rye Brook and New Rochelle on consecutive nights before taking a three-day break. On July 26, LawnChair performs in Port Chester, before concluding its summer tour in the Rye Town Park on July 27 and 28.