The Bard on Wine

“Shakespeare on Wine” will be directed by Lupe Gehrenbeck, a Venezuelan actress, playwright, and director whose work has been performed worldwide.
Non Disposable Productions, a new troupe of New York actors, will present "Shakespeare on Wine" at HITFest

The Hampton Independent Theatre Festival (HITFest) is partnering with Non Disposable Productions (NDP), a new troupe of New York City actors, to present “Shakespeare on Wine,” a one-hour program of wine-related scenes from the Bard’s oeuvre, on May 16 at the Bridgehampton Community House. Doors will open at 7 p.m.; the show will begin at 8.

HITFest evolved from the Naked Stage, which was founded in 2000 by Joshua Perl to establish an environment for theater artists to collaborate and develop their talents. In 2003 it moved to Guild Hall, where it offered dramatic readings for more than 10 years, before moving to Bridgehampton.

The organization, which adopted the name HITFest in order to procure sponsors and work within schools, has performed plays by Tennessee Williams, Terence McNally, Sarah Ruhl, and William Mastrosimone. The company has also performed outdoor productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Twelfth Night,” and “The Tempest,” the latter staged last summer at Mulford Farm in East Hampton.

The upcoming program is what Mr. Perl called a “low key” fund-raiser for the East Hampton Historical Society, HITFest, and NDP. Tickets will be $20. “There’ll be a raffle, stuff like that, but it’s mostly to get NDP a chance to be seen. I remember when I was trying to get momentum for what I was doing, and how it’s really helpful if somebody who has been there and done that invites you to their space. So I’m giving back, as much as anything else.”

Derek Straat, who founded NDP last summer with Malini Singh McDonald and Nick Radu, explained that the group’s aim is to create theater opportunities while sustaining communities, “one show at a time. In the process of doing that, we connected with Josh, so coming out to the Hamptons is a brand-new venture for us. This will be our fourth benefit performance, but we’re still in the process of branding ourselves.”

Last summer the company did a Shakespeare event in New York City that also consisted of individual scenes. That program benefited UNICEF. “In a way, the quality of the show was unexpected,” he said. “People came to support UNICEF, but they wound up getting a really good show.”

“Shakespeare on Wine” has been developed and will be directed by Lupe Gehrenbeck, a Venezuelan actress, playwright, and director whose work has been performed worldwide. “When I visited the Hamptons,” she said, “I thought, ‘This is about wine and sun!’ I developed a concept for choosing each scene with that spirit in mind. The result is that the staging somehow has the Hamptons in it.”

The words in the scenes are strictly Shakespeare, but the lines can be placed in a different order. Puck and Oberon from “Midsummer Night’s Dream” link the scenes, appearing between each one. Borachio from “Much Ado About Nothing” is also included. “I added him because he is going to be drinking throughout the play, with occasional comments,” Ms. Gehrenbeck said.

The evening will also include scenes from “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” and “Othello,” among others. “We included Iago and Cassio from ‘Othello’ because, in his last monologue, Cassio assumed he was responsible for the tragedy because he was drunk. It’s a beautiful monologue about feeling guilty because of his drinking.”

Looking ahead to August, Mr. Perl said that, instead of doing a complete play outdoors at Mulford Farm, HITFest will present a collection of scenes from Shakespeare inspired by the first line from “Twelfth Night” — “If music be the food of love, play on.”

“We’re going to bring musicians and actors who are in love with their craft. We’ll have some food and wine, although people generally bring their own. We’ll minimize the sets and costumes, and it’ll be all about the scenes and putting together an evening of really high energy and a frothy kind of fun.”

Mr. Perl explained that a full production of one of Shakespeare’s plays would require more time than he can spare. “To coordinate 17 actors and the rest of the creative team and getting rehearsal venues and housing aren’t things I can do right now. I’m looking forward to acting in something, too. I haven’t done that in a long time due to the pressures of producing. I think it’s going to take us back to our roots.”

Dates for the HITFest production have not yet been finalized, but Mr. Perl said it would probably take place during the latter half of August.