For those who follow Baysek’s advice and come prepared to the Arboretum’s Theatre-Hikes series this summer (she also recommends bug spray), she promises a unique and exciting theatrical experience. The shows of Theatre-Hikes take the audience on a tour of Morton as they follow actors from scene to scene throughout the Arboretum. The hikes can cover as much as two miles, though there are low-impact shows on Sundays for those unable to walk the full distance.
Theatre-Hikes began when founding director Frank Farrell—then an actor in New York City—was rehearsing in Central Park and decided he liked the venue. “The brainstorm was his, but it was a partnership between Frank and me and the Arboretum that gave the abundance to the theater company,” Baysek says. Now in its eleventh season, the company is fully professional. “We try to do shows that have broad, general appeal. What we have here is a way to combine interesting, professional theater with nature and culture.”
It may seem unusual for an arboretum to be providing space to a theater company, but Baysek feels the two are highly compatible. “It introduces the audience to the Arboretum, and hopefully they walk away from the Visitor’s Center and see things that they haven’t seen before. Hopefully they become ambassadors for the environment.” (Erin Kelsey)
Theatre-Hikes runs weekends through October 30, beginning with “The Hobbit,” now playing at the Morton Arboretum, I-88 and Rte. 53, Lisle, (630)725-2066, mortonarb.org. $13-$19.