alo fellow summerians
i’d like to take this time to apologize to the three of you who were expecting updates the past two weeks…I wrote a bunch of drafts for several different things (a book review, that short story, random news bits) but never finished any of ’em/thought they weren’t good enough/were utterly pointless. Some where along the line I realized that, forsooth, I must to lower my standards: heck, this is the Internet, after all 😉
So last week I saw Shakespeare in the Park with a couple of my buddies for the first time, and it was pretty awesome. Long, and sometimes tedious, yes, but damn, I’ve never enjoyed Romeo and Juliet so much! (To be fair though, the last time I saw the play was in the 9th grade, and it was a weird, pseudo-emo take on it. Granted, it was the 9th grade, and everybody’s immature/emotionally stunted at that age, especially yours truly.)
The venue was just awesome: open air theater, Central Park, at sunset, all of this for free (!)…OK none of this should be new information for New Yawkers. Of course this was new to me because I’m not from New York, heck I’m not even from Brooklyn: I’m from Under-A-Rock…population a zillion, but it’s so dark in here we can’t even interact with each other:)I suspect my fellow Rockers would be interested though, especially if they could con a “friend” of theirs – Rockers do sometimes venture into the outside world – into waking up at the crack of dawn (read: ’round 6) to go online and get tickets for that night’s show. Fortunately, my friends don’t have quotes around them, so no wrangling was required. (I’m getting sick of these smileys. Can’t someone make up an alternative?)
OK, back to the show – Romeo and Juliet, according to the Playbill, wasn’t done at Shakespeare in the Park since the Summer of Love…oooh, shocker. I guess they felt they had to one-up the 40th anniversary of the ’67 War and Sgt Pepper…I don’t know if they succeeded in doing that, but the show was damn good. Well, I haven’t read the play in six years, but the acting was for the most part solid, except for maybe Juliet. There were a lot of little dirty moments and puns/word loops that Shakespeare is famous for -I had a couple of laugh-out-louds (cuz if I wrote lols, you would read, ‘lols’) that the crowd heard and I joked I should be in the ‘beggars section’ in the front.
There were definitely parts I cringed at/thought weren’t convincing. While I say the acting was solid, there was little subtlety: if the actors were angry, they were always graphic and animated – classic case of overacting. Juliet annoyed me the most in this regard; though the scenes with Romeo in them lessened the pain.
The acting though, didn’t really detract that much from the overall experience. There were some travelling minstrels with Romeo who actually played the guitar, or seemed to: I couldn’t tell if the guitar was miked or if it was a recording. The stage was unique: it was basically a pond with movable bridges on it, surrounded by a wooden dock. The water was used effectively for dramatic effect, and the stage had a lot of room for action – even halfway up the stands where I was sitting, it was hard to see the entire stage at once. There was even one big bright spot acting-wise: Juliet’s nurse, played by a was phenomenal; at one point when she’s toying with Juliet, she gets her to give her a massage and proceeds to roll a joint and smoke it: this is comic relief at it’s finest, especially in such a heavy tragedy like this one. And it could only get better from here: this was only the second performance of Romeo and Juliet (it started the night before), so the actors may get better as the season goes on…
I don’t really think I understood the draw of this tragedy until I saw this production, and I definitely appreciate it more than I used to. (Like now, I get how Star Wars is Shakespearean now…but that’s a whole ‘nother story). So yeah, go see it!