We’ve entered that magical time of year that I like to call the Summer Shakespeare Season. Everywhere I look there are wonderful productions of Shakespeare plays being staged, usually for free, at local arboretums, college campuses, and even out under the stars in the courtyards of old Gold Coast mansions. Most people have heard of the famous Shakespeare in the Park productions that are held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park but its popularity can mean that it can be hard to get tickets, (I am still bitter that I missed John Lithgow as King Lear last summer), and not everyone lives within easy distance of NYC. But what most people don’t realize is that amazing performances of wonderful plays are most likely being offered in their own neighborhoods.
Last week, Rob and I saw the final performance of The Long Island Shakespeare Festival’s production of As You Like It. We’ve seen several of the LI Shakespeare Festival productions over the years, including Much Ado About Nothing and MacBeth, and we always enjoy them. (If you are in the Long Island area, I definitely recommend you check them out next summer!)
This was the first time either of us had seen As You Like It performed and we enjoyed it from prime seats in the front row. It seems funny to say this, considering how As You Like It is a comedy, but I was really very surprised by how funny the production was. There’s a scene early on in the play where the hero, Orlando, gets into a wrestling match. When I read the play, I really didn’t stop to think of how that would play out on stage, or if I did, I was expecting something straightforward and quick before the actors got back to the real action of the story. This production went a completely different route, making the wrestling match one of the highlights of the play and mixing Wrestlemania – like moves and broad physical comedy that had us in stitches. (Rob particularly liked the slow motion moments in the action sequence.) The rest of the play was also delightful. The heroine of the play, Rosalind was clever, witty, and utterly charming, as was Danielle Guidi, the actress who portrayed her. I particularly enjoyed Rosalind’s efforts to teach Orlando how to woo and love her properly. (I think lots of women would love a chance to school our significant others in how to treat us in the manner we wish to become accustomed to). All in all, it was a wonderful time seeing a wonderful production of a wonderful play and best of all, it was completely free and right around the corner from our home!
This weekend, Rob and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary by attending a performance of Twelfth Night at the Vanderbilt Museum. We haven’t decided if we are going to go out to dinner beforehand or pack a picnic and make a day of it, exploring the Vanderbilt mansion and museum before seeing the play. Either way, it should be a lovely evening and we are planning on going back later in the summer to see their production of Othello. Next week, if everything works out the way I hope it will, we’ll get a chance to go into the city and see The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s production of The Tempest. I’ve heard some amazing things about the production and would love a chance to check it out for myself.
I’ve got so much Shakespeare on my mind lately that I designed two new pieces of Shakespeare jewelry, (a necklace with a beautiful Shakespeare quote from the play, The Tempest, and another necklace featuring the opening lines to my favorite Shakespeare Sonnet) and added them to my Etsy shop.
If you are like me and can’t get enough of the Bard, you can see more of my handmade literary jewelry inspired by the works of William Shakespeare – currently on sale for 10% off – here in the C. S. Literary Jewelry Etsy shop. You can also check this week’s Friday Favorites treasury, a magical, Midsummer Night’s Dream – inspired collection of enchanting Etsy finds. Happy reading everyone and I will see thee again anon!