FORT GREENE — Hear the stories of Fort Greene Park as told through song this Sunday in a live outdoor performance.
Current and former NYU graduate students will perform six mini operas at 4 p.m., rain or shine, between the Visitors Center and the Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument as part of Park and Bark, in partnership with the Fort Greene Park Conservancy and American Opera Projects.
The operas, written by students in NYU’s graduate musical theatre writing program at Tisch School of the Arts, run under 15 minutes each and will dramatize the history and the current daily life of the park.
They’ll range from contemporary comedy to darker dramas that take place in the past, present and future of Fort Greene Park and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The pieces will delve into the history and folk tales of Fort Greene’s immigrant community in the 19th century and the remains of the Prison Ship Martyrs, as well as the park's present day dog walking and exercise community.
One piece peeks into a grim future in which a massive flood is headed to the park, and a lone gardener is on a mission to save his plants.
Randall Eng, director of the Opera Lab at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, said students were inspired by multiple visits to the park.
“The park itself is so fascinating in terms of its history and just the people that are there now, that they just kind of ran with it,” Eng said on Wednesday. “My own sense of the park has changed a lot by listening to all these pieces so far. There’s millions of stories to be told about that place.”
Eng said the physical landscape of the park will also be a big part of the performances — a large tree and a park bench will have their own roles in two of the pieces.
Students were also encouraged to draw inspiration from poet Walt Whitman, whose own work was influenced by the park.
“What we encourage these young creators to do is to take their impressions of the park, just like Whitman did and do something artistic with it,” said Charles Jarden, executive director of American Opera Projects and chairman of the Fort Greene Park Conservancy.
The performance will be free and open to the public. While there will only be seating for 60 audience members, anyone can walk by or take a seat on the ground near the performers.
Another group of students will be performing six separate operas Saturday at 2 p.m. at NYU’s Black Box Theatre. This performance is also free, but seating is limited.
For more information, click here.