Friday, July 25, 2008

Shakespeare on second

My own estimate of the virtues of Dehler Park as a venue for Shakespearean tragedy would be a bit harsher than this. The sound wasn't bad -- better, actually, than it often is at Pioneer Park -- but putting the stage between the pitcher's mound and second base left the players too far away for full enjoyment. It never became obvious to me just by looking exactly who Macbeth was. I had to wait for him to speak.

Then there was the street noise, and airplanes flying overhead, including one right in the opening lines of the "sound and fury" speech. Fortunately, Macbeth had the presence of mind to hold his tongue until the worst of the noise had passed.

It's a marvelous play, of course, full of great speeches and drama, and eminently stageable. Of all Shakespeare's plays, it's the one that most resembles an HBO mini-series. So I don't mean to complain about a free show.

But my vote for the best Shakespeare venue I have seen (including London) is for Shakespeare at Winedale, a rustic setting in central Texas where the University of Texas gives its summer Shakespeare plays.

The whole thing is so improbable -- basically a barn in a field miles from any city -- and so primitive and intimate that I think it must be the closest experience on earth to what it was actually like to sit in the Globe Theater and see the plays for the first time. It's always in mid-summer, and hotter than hell, but that just adds to the authenticity of the experience.

We took my daughter when she was a little tyke, too small to understand much of what was going on, but she has had a weak spot for Shakespeare ever since, and I've always suspected that Winedale may be the reason why.

And if that's not good enough, you can always stop for pie in nearby Royer's Round Top Cafe, where they charge extra if you order pie without Blue Bell ice cream on top. Texans are tolerant people: You don't have to eat pie a la mode if you don't want to, but their tolerance does come with a price.

UPDATE: The link is now fixed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice :)
But your Winedale link just connects to the Gazette article.