view from the hill

A look at the elements and events that come into view from where I'm standing...
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... the stuff that matters in this life. Some flicker and are gone in a matter of hours
only to live in memory, others become life long travelling companions, never far from reach.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Love’s Labour's Lost

June 14th, 2007
lll1We’re back in Central Park after waaay too long to see a New York staple – New York Classical Theatre, and their “site specific” productions that wander the park all Summer. The shows are free, and since we’ve been away, the popularity has grown. What used to be an intimate gathering has turned into an unruly throng. Still, who can complain if there’s a big audience turning out to see some free Shakespeare?

With picnic blankets in hand, our group was kept on our toes as each scene is acted out in a different location - under a grove of trees, on a rock overlooking the pond, a hillside lawn. The actors have fun getting us to move on to the next bit, telling us in their Elizabethan best what path to hurry down.

lll2It was great fun. We’ve seen a couple other shows by these guys, and this time the experience outshone the play, but that’s ok, it’s the overall experience we’re after. The actors were fine, the play a bit of a confusion. Though as always, the language is so rich and varied with an amazing exploration of themes – book learning vs. experiential feeling, head vs. heart, loyalty to an oath vs. following passion. And it’s not a straight comedy either. Like all of Shakespeare’s plays, there’s a real range of color as some things are left very bitter sweet.

lll3But seeing the young kids in the audience run at top speed to get the best seats in the make-shift front row was worth it all. The night grew deeper, the flashlights came out to illuminate the players, and fireflies danced under the trees. Venus peaked between Upper West Side apartments, and 100 people gathered to watch a Shakespeare play performed for free. This place is magical.

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