Montana Shakespeare in the Parks will be making a long-awaited stop in Three Forks with a performance of "Measure for Measure" scheduled for Sunday, September 10, at the Bridger Brewing facility at 75 Vigilante Way.
During his 20-plus years of working for MSIP, Executive Artistic Director Kevin Asselin said they have not performed in Three Forks, but it has always been a target stop for the company.
"It's always come us as a conversation with folks in the local community, and for Bridger Brewing to put up that space certainly provided us with some good support to make the show happen," said Asselin. "For a community like Three Forks to be able to engage the population and young people, we are thrilled. It's tough sometimes to get new towns on our schedule because we always honor communities from the years before, so this opening came up, and the opportunity was there we jumped at. It was perfect, and we were thrilled."
For the area residents who have not been to an MSIP performance, Asselin discussed what they should expect to see on September 10 at 5 p.m.
"The quality of production that we aim to produce, we really feel confident it is at a pretty high level of professionalism. The quality of storytelling and the production elements are all top-notch. But really beyond that, what Shakespeare in the Parks has stood for over 50 years is about community engagement. It's about families and neighbors and kids and grandparents having an opportunity to come together for a cultural event that is free and accessible," Asselin said. "Something we really treasure is the opportunity for community members to come out an hour before the show and have a picnic and just to relax and enjoy the atmospheric opportunity of being together as a community. Shakespeare and the other classics we produce are really just a vehicle to provide an opportunity for a cultural gathering of community members to have an experience together collectively."
During its 51st season, MSIP is performing both "The Three Musketeers" by Robert Kauzlaric, which is based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, and "Measure for Measure," a classic Shakespearean work, pitting people from different classes against each other.
With a "Measure for Measure" performance planned for the stop in Three Forks, Asselin feels the production is a strong piece that advocates for an opportunity to reflect on the qualities of mercy, forgiveness, and understanding.
According to Asselin, in the play, Shakespeare is really drawing on the importance of faith and having a deep understanding of forgiveness. In "Measure for Measure," he said there are three very distinct worlds. He said the religious world really upholds Christian values and faith, there is a blue-collar world that brings a lot of humor into the play, and there is also the political class.
"When you put those three together, it is a great reflection of what is happening in our world today, two decades ago, or throughout history. Shakespeare was commenting on a lot of things that were happening in his time that I think we all in the 21st century can find relevance in as long as we understand the most important quality or value being mercy and understanding," Asselin said.