Sally's Day- My day started with sorting clothing donations for the free store for homeless folks at Jon Hus Church. I learned that the church was founded by Czech immigrants, and named in honor of Jon Hus, a Czech reformer. They still sing their closing hymn in Czech.
Then it was off to join Al at the Shakespeare in the Park line. It appeared that some people had slept there. I could not see the end of the line.
Shakespeare in the Park has been a summer event for 50 years, and takes place at the Delacourte Theatre located in Central Park. Tickets are free. I wondered if the play would be worth waiting in line for 3-4 hours for tickets.
It was- absolutely. They performed As You Like It- the setting was a fort, and woods. The woods looked very realistic because they have unlimited height for tall trees (i.e. there is no roof), and the stage is about twice as big as the Guthrie thrust stage permitting the forest to be thick and wide. There was lots of blue grass music- written by Steve Martin (in his program notes, he states "currently writing songs with his lyricist, William Shakespeare, who is always late). The cast was great. The only actor I recognized was Oliver Platt, who played Touchstone, a servant who accompanies Rosalind and Celia into the Arden Forest. I remember him most from playing the disbarred lawyer buddy of Matthew McConahey in A Time to Kill.
I noticed immediately that the actors spoke their lines as real dialogue. So often Shakespeare actors seem to be somewhat uncomfortable talking in blank verse.
They kept a lot more of the play then often happens with Shakespeare. The play lasted about 3 hours and 10 minutes.
The director states that he chose the play because in these times, it seemed a "particularly good idea to do two shows (the other is Into the Woods) about people who, in time of trouble, retreat into the woods and discover reservoirs of strength and optimism within themselves they didn't know existed. We will all need that strength and optimism, as we face the continuing challenges of this election year."
Since we can't take pictures of the play, our pictures today are of Central Park- the wooded ones are of an area called The Ramble- where you feel like you are far away from the city, and in the woods. Although it is a small area, the trails wind, intersect, and intersect in different directions. I don't choose that route through the park unless I have plenty of time for rambling.
I agree with Sally about the play. This play made me realize that every other Shakespeare play or movie I have seen is a case of actors reading lines. They may be good at playing the part, but never seem quite real. In this play, every actor seemed to just be talking. It felt as if the words they were speaking where their natural words, not some words written 400 years ago. You expected that if you met them on the street, they would still talk like that. It was quite amazing.