Saturday, July 11, 2009

Into the Woods: Shakespeare in the Park

To me, the Delacort Theater in Central Park is the absolute perfect place to see Shakespeare. Set against the backdrop of the Turtle Pond and Belvedere Castle and enclosed with a scrim of trees, this open-air stage epitomizes the transition and balance between the urban zone and the woods, a dichotomy that Shakespeare frequently explored and, after all, the subject of this blog.

To attend Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacort is to cast yourself in a Shakespearean comedy. New York City can easily be aligned with Athens in A Midsummer Night's Dream or Milan in The Tempest, cities where obligation and law reign, where passion is restricted by culture and power is worth killing for. The C train ride uptown to 81st Street is clearly a shipwreck (akin to Viola’s in Twelfth Night) that leaves you gasping for air and thankful that you arrived unharmed at such an idyllic locale. The park is a world of freedom, magic and romance. And hotdogs. I really love those hotdogs... but I digress.

Shakespeare in the Park is always a cathartic experience for me, "converting all [my] sounds of woe/into hey, nonny, nonny!"* At least until I get back on the subway.

*William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act II, Scene iii

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