Friday, July 6, 2012

Shakespeare in the Park - Something for Everyone

I owe a lot to my high school English teachers. They sparked my passion for writing. They gave me creative projects and provided great advice that have shaped my career and drive to blog and work in communications. They led me through countless books that I still re-read from time to time and enjoy. They turned me into a bookworm as there’s rarely a time where I’m not in the middle of a book.

I can't say though, that my high school teachers got me excited about Shakespeare. They tried, but I didn't really "get" Shakespeare, or enjoy his works until I started attending performances at Shakespeare in Delaware Park.

I stumbled upon a performance years ago when I was enjoying a picnic at Hoyt Lake, and was so impressed by the whole "package" Shakespeare in the Park offers to patrons.

First you have the backdrop: Performances take place in Delaware Park right next to Hoyt Lake, behind the Delaware Park Rose Garden, surrounded by trees. Everyone brings blankets and/or camping chairs. Then you have a simple but important stage that helps guide you through the performance. As for the performance itself, the directing and acting is among some of the best I've seen on any level, and they find a way to take something hard to understand (to many, myself included) very enjoyable and easy to follow along with.

Alright, so theatre isn’t your thing? For many this is true, but Shakespeare in the Park is about more than theatre. It’s a night to bring friends/family together. Bring snacks or a whole meal if you want, and beverages (wine is my choice) to enjoy in one of the most beautiful areas around Buffalo. Above that, attending a performance is about supporting the arts in the Buffalo area. It’s FREE, and while they do walk around asking for donations at intermission, I can almost guarantee you will find yourself reaching into your pocket to throw something in!

It also makes for the perfect date night – get there at least an hour early and enjoy food and drinks while chatting, then enjoy the performance.

This past Sunday I saw the performance of Richard III and it was outstanding. The play is one of Shakespeare’s longest works. I thought the interpretation of this, at often times bizarre play, was outstanding. Kudos to legendary director Saul Elkin for his directing and staging of the performance. Richard III was one work I had never read, or even knew much about, so while I came in with nothing to judge it by, I thought so many scenes were staged and acted perfectly. Stand out roles for me were the lead, Richard III played by Tim Newell and Queen Margaret played by Lisa Vitrano.

The production of Richard III runs until July 15th, so get out soon and catch it. They will be following it up with performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” beginning July 26th and running through August 19th.   I can't wait to get back there for this performance! 

Bravo to the cast and crew involved with Shakespeare in the Park this summer. You continue to impress me and leave me wishing there were more than two shows a summer! Thank you for giving me a new appreciation for Shakespeare. 

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