Wikipedia defines, “Shakespeare in the Park is a concept used across the world, as a form of free public presentation of William Shakespeare’s works. Such performances exist in Australia, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.”
We love this idea of being part of something larger than ourselves. At a micro-level, outdoor Shakespeare productions bring communities together for a few hours at a time to enjoy a performance. This shared experience carries beyond those few hours together, though. Ask any artist who has participated in an outdoor production, and he or she will have some great stories to tell. Performing in a Shakespeare in the Park production guarantees an actor’s place in a worldwide fraternity of those who have suffered the elements from freezing rain to intense heat; competed to be heard against of trains, planes, ambulances, or screaming children; and shared the stage with a wandering child or a curious squirrel. Actors carry these war stories as badges of honor and joy.
Likewise, watching a Shakespeare in the Park performance as an audience member leaves an indelible mark on the memory. Whether it’s the wine and picnic laid out on a blanket, or the wind in the trees at the exact moment when Macbeth approaches the witches, or the stars twinkling above as Juliet says, “Take him and cut him out in little stars/And he will make the face of heaven so fine/ That all the world will be in love with night…” — outdoor performances have a special magic that sticks with a person.
What’s your favorite memory of Shakespeare in the Park?