By Mark Hallum
Shakespeare in the Park and free movie screenings will be returning to Cunningham Park for the month of August, courtesy of Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) and Friends of Cunningham Park.
For 60 years, Shakespeare in the Park has been touring the city and bringing free performances to New Yorkers. “As You Like It” will be coming to Cunningham Park Aug. 4 with a rain date of Aug. 9. This is a comedy by the famous English playwright in which two women from a French duchy are forced to flee persecution at the hands of the heroine’s uncle. A performance of “Julius Caesar” is scheduled for Aug. 18 with a rain date of Aug. 23. This is one of Shakespeare’s iconic tragedies in which the downfall of the first Roman emperor is depicted through the internal struggles of his deeply conflicted soon-to-be assassin Marcus Brutus.
Both plays are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and will have interactive workshops for children an hour before.
The 1959 Peter Sellers cold war satire film “The Mouse That Roared” is scheduled for an Aug. 8 screening with an Aug. 11 rain date. “Selma”, the 2014 film depicting Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous march for equal voting rights through Montgomery, Ala., in 1965 will be shown Aug. 15 with a rain date of Aug. 16. The 2015 film “Inside Out”, about a girl whose emotions are personified through five other characters while she struggles to adjust to new surroundings as her family moves from one side of the country to the other, will be screened Aug. 22 with an Aug. 25 rain date.
“Bajrangi Bhaijaan” should mix it up for park-goers interested in a little Bollywood flavor. This Indian drama is about a devout follower of the Hindu deity Hanuman, tasked with seeing a mute 6-year-old girl back to her home in Pakistan. This is scheduled for viewing Aug. 29 with a rain date of Aug. 30.
“Cunningham Park is a beautiful oasis in eastern Queens. I am so pleased to bring in cultural programs like Shakespeare in the Park and free movie nights at which the community can gather,” Grodenchik said.
Cunningham Park is located between the borders of Oakland Gardens, Fresh Meadows and Jamaica Estates and can be easily accessed by the 73 Avenue exit of Clearview Expressway.
All films will start at 8 p.m. and attendees can reach Cunningham Park via the Q76 bus.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall