Thursday, August 24, 2017

Theater In The Rough - R2BC

Rubbish photographer strikes again. 
Well they made a point of saying that they spell theatre the American way so I've done the same for SEO purposes and also because it's annoying when someone writes my name Rachael instead of Rachel.

Last night we went to the annual Shakespeare in the park production by Theater in the Rough. It was the penultimate performance. We'd been planning to go every night (10 performances in all) since the first night, but somehow something came up on all the other days.

This year was The Taming of the Shrew. I read the synopsis to DD before we went. We've previously seen Richard III and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Both were excellent and easy to follow even though they both have complicated plots. I thought this production would be a doddle compared to the others as the plot is quite straightforward. DD was a bit shocked by it. "He treats her like a slave!" Well yes.

I'd forgotten about the changing places and pretending to be other people. Those bits weren't in our Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb (originally published in 1878 but my Wordsworth edition is from 1994). So it did have the complicated Shakespeare twists but this production was further complicated by a switching of the genders.

As the whole play is the antithesis of feminism, they had men playing the women and women playing the men. They didn't want to dress in drag so they wore modern clothing with a nod to the character. For example the women wore their everyday jeans, trousers or leggings but with a jacket or a waistcoat. And the men wore their trousers and t-shirts but with a girl's blouse on top. This meant that, unlike in previous productions with elaborate medieval costumes, everyone looked the same and it was very difficult to keep in mind who was who at the beginning.

And after that my battery died
After a bit you get to know the characters and sort it all out - but it required some concentration. DD sat with the programme and matched up the pictures with the players. She loved the performance as it was full of humour which she found quite hilarious.

She didn't like the fact that we moved around the park for different scenes. "Why can't they just let us sit and enjoy it instead of moving about all the time?" She asked out loud. Some people around us, especially the older people, agreed with her but actually it adds to the special atmosphere. As the whole audience walks between scenes the actors are still playing in character and you feel like you're in Padua with them, rather than just watching a play.

It's very laid back. Some of the actors are our friends and we were waved at from the 'stage' and exchanged a 'hello,' whilst moving from scene to scene. They always announce at the beginning that if you miss a few words during the performance, don't worry about it, "it's Shakespeare, there are plenty more where they came from." As I said, all very friendly and laid back.

All in all, the whole production was superb and well worth seeing. Last performance tonight at 5.30 pm in the park behind The King David Hotel. 

This is my Reasons 2B Cheerful post this week. I've be joined the linky with Becky on Lakes Single Mum


  1. They do Shakespeare in the Park every summer over in High Park - a very large city park near to where I live. This year it's "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and "King Lear" - they switch back and forth every other night so quite a workout for the actors. I love the idea but you have to get there early to claim a seat and it has been such a wet summer that the mosquitoes are just too much for me. It's in a forest setting so rather "buggy" in general.
    A few of the parks in town have similar productions - I saw a great performance of "Pirates of Penzance" one year! Glad you and DD enjoyed yourselves - but I'm with DD - wouldn't want to have to keep moving about.

    1. Shame about the mozzies. I hope you got to see some productions this summer.

  2. I used to love outdoor Shakespeare! We have theatre in Lancaster that has each scene in a different part of the park

    1. It makes it different and more interesting to move around I think.