Commonwealth Shakespeare 2012 Presents Coriolanus : Part 1

The last time I missed a Commonwealth Shakespeare production on Boston Common was 2005 – and I’m still not happy about it.  (2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011).

So this year when we accidentally scheduled Coriolanus for the last weekend and the weather started getting rough, I feared the worst.  I’d told my wife, “It’s ok … 2005 was *Hamlet*.  This year it’s only Coriolanus.  I’ll understand if we miss it.”

Yeah, not really.  As always we had plans with another couple.  Our typical Shakespeare date is to get takeout from the local Chinese place, bring some wine, have a picnic.  But it was clear from  the early morning that the weather was not going to be nice to us, so at 10am my wife’s on the phone to me (I’m at work) trying to discuss reservations at a restaurant and when we should “call it” and just agree that there’s no Shakespeare.  My actual quote to her in that conversation was the following:  “Listen.  My entire evening tonight can be summed up as Shakespeare….or not.  If I don’t get my Shakespeare it doesn’t really matter to me at all what else we do.  3 out of the 4 people going out tonight are going to have an opinion on where and what we eat, so why would you ask the fourth guy to make the reservations?” 🙂

Once the show was cancelled I felt a little better, and off we went to dinner.

But I didn’t start this post to tell you about my dinner (Tuscan Kitchen in Salem, NH.  Not bad!  A little pricey for the atmosphere, but I’d go back.)  Unlike 2005, I did get the opportunity to head back into town to see the followup show – in this case, Sunday at 7pm.  Since babysitters were not as forthcoming on a Sunday night, my wife stayed home and I went in alone.

Very disappointed at first, as traffic got me there at about 6:45 – way too late to get a good seat.  I ended up far house right, with a someone obstructed view (which I did not realize until the action began and much of it took place on a balcony high stage left).  Worse, I’d left my sunglasses in the car and the sun was directly behind the stage, meaning that at least to start, I saw nothing.

So the show opens, and director Steven Maler introduces local radio host Kennedy.  Not really sure why, as she pretty much did nothing but introduce herself.  “They say Shakespeare invented the knock knock joke,” she tells the audience, to groans.  “Yes, I’m going there.  I’ve got a joke for you.  Ready? Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?” asked the audience half heartedly.

“Wherefore means,” said Kennedy.

“Wherefore means who?” asked the audience.

“No, wherefore means why, how many times do we have to go over this?” she completed.

The audience didn’t love it.  The director said that he loved it.

I loved it.  Not because it was a good joke of course, but because I wrote it.  Someone must have googled “Shakespeare knock knock jokes”, and the list that Bardfilm and I put together pretty much owns that first page of results.  I don’t think that was the greatest joke in the list for them to have picked, but I’ll take it!  Of course, this major event in my life come on a night when I have no family and friends around me to bounce my excitement off of, so I turn to the random stranger next to me and say, “That’s my joke!  I wrote that joke!”  She looks at me like she hopes I’m not going to talk to her anymore.

With that, the show’s about to begin.  I’ll make my actual review a second post so this one doesn’t get too too long.  The sun set relatively quickly so I could actually see the stage.  I tweeted a picture, to give you an idea of where I was and what was going on with that obstructing branch.

To be continued!