Shakespeare In The Park, Boston : I'm So Disappointed

For years I’ve tried to get in to Boston to see free Shakespeare on the Common.  I’ll go see something like that like other people go see a movie or hang out at a bar.  What do you want to do tonight?  Let’s go watch some Shakespeare.  Over the years I’ve seen Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Tempest.  If you’ve got the access, how can you not want to do that? Two years ago, I missed Hamlet completely by waiting until the last day of the performance and having it get rained out on me.  That’s what happens when you try to coordinate a bunch of people going. This past year we went to see Taming of the Shrew, again on the last week. I hate seeing things on the last week, because all the fun of reviewing it and telling people whether or not it’s worth seeing is lost.  But at least we saw it. I happen to have a new job, if I didn’t mention it, which is on one side of Boston Common.  This means that when I walk to my train every day I literally walk right through the Shakespeare folks doing their dress rehearsals.  That is awesome.  I told myself, my wife and anybody that would listen that this year I will camp out on the first night of performance. And then I read this… I’m so disappointed.  At least they’re coming back to the Common for me – I’d heard a rumor that the production would be over at the Hatch Shell, which throws out my whole “I walk right past it anyway” strategy.  And I suppose it’s good news that they’re moving back to their original Common location near the bandstand.  I don’t think anybody liked last year’s location on the other side, too noisy and not enough good seating. But A Midsummer Night’s Dream?  AGAIN?  Doesn’t anybody get tired of doing that play?  Didn’t everyone who’d want to be in a professional Shakespeare cast already get it out of their systems by doing it every couple of years growing up? Plus, they’re only doing a week of performances (last week in July, 24-29).  Why… are you ready for this?  Because our Beacon Hill neighbors complained about the noise.  Seriously.  Instead of garbage trucks backing up and police sirens wailing, they get to spend a couple of weeks hearing motherf&*(ing Shakespeare performed out their g$%^&*mned windows, and they complained about it.  Can you tell I’m pissed off?   Why not just turn off the stupid television, open your windows, and enjoy it?  Who else gets to have background Shakespeare while they sit on their deck and have a glass of wine? Boston is not having a good couple of weeks.  We’ve gotten into a very McCarthy-esque way of thinking, blowing up everything in site that might be a terrorist’s Lite-Brite.  But I think that this disappoints me more.  Because overreacting to terrorism is a job for goverment people, but complained that you don’t want Shakespeare in your neighborhood says something about the people themselves. (Ironically, July 24-29 was also going to be the week that I’m down the Cape this summer, so I would have totally missed it again.  But at the last minute the house we wanted to reserve became unavailable and we had to switch weeks, so it looks like I’ll be free.  True, I’m all upset now, but as the day gets nearer I’m betting I’ll get just as excited as I always do.  Although I do wish they’d do something that I haven’t seen a million times.  Oy.  Where’s my Twelfth Night?  Winter’s Tale?  Heck, I’d take Julius Caesar over Midsummer’s, at least it would be different.  How come nobody ever tackles King Lear anymore?)  

3 thoughts on “Shakespeare In The Park, Boston : I'm So Disappointed

  1. I’ve seen MND seven times in the past three years.

    It’s a great play — very accessible and forgiving (one of the reasons why I think it should be taught in the schools — the humor still works and it’s fairly hard to mess up without trying) — but I’m getting tired of it, too.

    And did you notice that Shakespeare & Co out in Lenox will also be staging Dream? Unless I hear a very compelling reason, I’ll probably skip it and Commonwealth both.

    Besides, I’ve already seen Commonwealth Shakespeare’s youth company do MND (twice, b/c the first got rained out) and while they were good, I’m getting rather reluctant to sit thru the play unless the company intends to bring something special out of it.

    I liked Boston Theatre Works’ production with the gender swap, but CSC tends more towards the accessible than innovative.

  2. Oh, I’m still going. My wife and I were discussing it this weekend and I broke out the old pizza and sex analogy. You know the one — “Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good”?

    Free Shakespeare, outdoors under the stars. If I had the flexibility I would go every night, just bring my laptop and hangout, listening to it as background noise.

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