First Time

Shakespeare in the Park

To paraphrase Keats, a breezy summer's eve, a cup of cocoa, and Shakespeare. The ingredients for a lovely night out. We'd originally planned to attend Shakespeare in the Park in Notre Dame de Grace or Westmount, expecting relatively quiet surroundings, but found ourselves instead in Cabot Square on a Friday night, across the street from the AMC movie theatre and directly behind the Atwater metro station's entrance. Not to mention the traffic.

Yet it was a pleasant surprise to notice, not ten minutes into the performance, that all distractions had fallen away. We were riveted to the action on the stage -- and off, as the players ran among us at times as they sought on another, or sought to escape each other!

This year marked the 25th anniversary of Montreal's Shakespeare in the Park and many veteran actors from previous years had returned for its anniversary run of A Midsummer's Night's dreams.

Park performances of Shakespeare's plays have been staged for over fifty years in North America, beginning in New York and Kentucky. Entrance is always free, and donations are gladly accepted, not just to maintain the performances -- lighting, sound, costumes, set decoration, licenses, etc. -- but also in support of various charities.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, with its woodland setting, is ideal for park performances, of course. With trees round about and grass beneath your feet, it's easy to feel a part of the characters' world, especially that of the fairie realm -- King Oberon, Queen Titania, and of course, The tricksy Puck. It's always a delight, too, to hear such familiar phrases as have seeped into our language and consciousness from Shakespeare in their original context: "Lord what fools these mortals be", "ill met by moonlight", "if we shadows have offended..."

We're already looking forward to next year's performance of The Taming of the Shrew!

September-October 2013

Old Articles by Deniz B. Bevan:
Château Ramezay
Walking In Old Montreal
My First Novel
Istanbul Sapphire
Pâté or Pouding Chômeur
An Expression
Ice Apple Wine
Montreal Is An Island
Lavender Fields
Exotic Fruit
Ideas for Your 'Staycation'
Istanbul: I Only Have Two Days To See Everything!
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Bladeby Diana Gabaldon
Approaching Ireland by ferry...
Just Plain Nesin