Marla Burkholder: Airing out Shakespeare

Marla Burkholder is co-founder of Shakespeare in Clark Park, and that— as is the case with so many young non-profits – means wearing about 15 hats.

An annual production, SCP has come a long way since 2006, when they had a budget of about $4,000. With this summer’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” the company is edging closer to $50,000, and projecting audiences as large as 1,000 per night in the bowl-shaped expanse of grass they call home in West Philly.

Among other responsibilities, Burkholder is the business manager, co-artistic director, outreach coordinator, teaching artist and rain contingency specialist for SCP. But she’s also an accomplished Equity actress, and this year she found time to take on Hero in “Much Ado.”

“It’s unlike any other acting experience. One portion of my mind is always pointed toward producer-y things during the process,” she says with a laugh. “When people come up with an idea that I just know is going to be an expensive addition or really hard to pack up after the performance, a part of me has trouble remaining an artist.”

Under the direction of company favorite Alex Torra, this “Much Ado” promises a ’50s era vibe as SCP explores post-war undertones in the play.

“It’s a show about soldiers leaving war behind, and coming home to let loose,” says Burkholder. “Alex [Torra] was hesitant to set it specifically in post-war US. We don’t want to impose a concept at the expense of the play, but we’re definitely working with the idea of women rebounding from doing men’s work, and both sexes having to adjust to their new roles.”

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