Parking the Bard
Among the summer events I look forward to, the street fairs, arts and craft shows, farmers markets and church picnics, are the concerts, the wee bit of culture our small town enjoys. And more than the concerts on my fave list is the annual Shakespeare in the Park.
As a proclaimed Bardinator, being able to watch a Shakespeare play is a treat. The bonus with this production is that it is outdoors, professionally performed, creatively produced, and free. All I need to provide is my camp chair.
This year’s production was Henry IV. I’m not too keen on the historical monarchy plays for the reason the names are difficult to keep track of, plus someone is always trying to bump off someone to get to the throne.
But it’s Shakespeare. I will muddle through and bring up my handy on-line Folger script to keep track. Shmoop helps a bit with its character and summary notes.
We arrived an hour early to peg out our spots and were intrigued to catch the last part of the belly dancer routine. Were there belly dancers during the Renaissance?
Didn’t matter, it was fairly entertaining. Hopes of getting some dinner at a food booth were dashed–no refreshments available. None. I noticed people had brought those rolling ice chests and picnic baskets. They’ve done this before.
The venue used to be across the street from our house, which made popping home for a quick snack quite handy.
The production has grown so much in popularity it has shifted to the town football stadium. Someone could have made some decent bucks opening up the concession stand. A play that starts at 6 pm should have some kind of food choices available. Just saying.
This year’s production was set during WWI and it was a dandy. Falstaff and Hal played off each well, and the comedy bits had enough slapstick to get even the kids laughing.
And that’s the best part of outdoor theatre–the cross section of audience. Everyone attends: Singles, couples, large families with wiggly toddlers, AARPers in wheelchairs, empty nesters, even a few teens.
We all laugh in the right places, cheer accordingly, and listen attentively during the serious bits.
This year I had to plead with the hubs to accompany me. He’s not much of a Henry fan either, but he knows I do enjoy Shakespeare and he does like hanging out with me. Win-win–mostly.
We lasted right up to where Hal, as mock king, tells Falstaff that he will disown him when the time comes. After that it got serious. Battles are dreary bits to watch, even Shakespeare battle. I would have stayed but the hubs handed me my casted-off sandals. I took the hint and we snuck off field.
Dinner seemed to be on the agenda.