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Stepping into the title role is Alessandro Colla, a veteran of six parking-lot shows who helped break up a drunken fight while doing "The Tempest" on his first day at the lot years ago.
"Not everyone who comes through here is friendly," he says with a laugh during a recent rehearsal, fittingly in a "Grand Theft Auto" T-shirt. The trick, he says, isn't to tune out the distractions but to use them. "Surviving one of these makes you feel like you have armor."
Clancy has his own horror story of showing up one day to find that their set had been used as a bathroom. "That was when my leadership was tested because obviously no one wanted to touch it. I said, 'Someone get the rubber gloves. I'm going in!'" he says.
Despite the cars, fights and poo, the company vows to keep going and won't abandon its makeshift stage for another neighborhood. Clancy sees it fitting that the plays are staged on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, for years the teeming home for so many immigrants.
"I see Shakespeare as being one of the great witnesses of humanity. So when we do Shakespeare in the parking lot on the Lower East Side, we're combining these two tremendous forces."