Waiting for Cymbeline–Shakespeare in the Park

We arrived at 10 am Saturday morning to find a short senior line under shady benches for tickets that would be handed out at 12 noon. After a number of frustrating attempts to obtain tickets for the free Shakespeare in the Park by the online lottery, we decided to try this approach and it worked.

Rory had a tip from some friendly cyclists that the new Cymbeline was terrific so we walked over prepared to wait on a long hot line, but the Public Theater really made it great for us. Here are highly motivated seniors reading the paper, doing crosswords and knitting. line 1line 2Some brought chairs and music while others checked their email; we all had to show ID and were flattered to do so. Several said they had been there since 6 am, but told us that as it was before the reviews came out, traffic was light this time.

line 4At 12 noon promptly, the staff gave out tickets; you could take as many as two per person and your plus one didn’t have to be a senior–nice thinking!

The other line–for everyone but us—was a bit longer. They received their tickets at 12 also.the other line

We returned at 7:30 and took our seats in a large amphitheater that Siri told us held 1810 seats. They used a thrust stage and behind that sat the musicians, playing sometimes under the speeches and of course during the songs and dances.

stageAs dusk fell, the seats filled up and the weather turned cool but it was lovely.audience at eveningI can’t imagine nicer conditions in which to see the romantic fantasy that was Shakespeare’s last play but one–the last one being The Tempest as you know.

I sometimes forget that WS inserted songs in the play, but here they were given the full treatment in one of several musical styles including soft rock, pop, English/Irish folk and what appeared to be jitterbugging. We didn’t care–it all worked. Every role was covered and best of all, the cast spoke in fine clear American English–no phony accents just a real understanding of the lines and a ringing delivery. This is Shakespeare for today’s audience.

The performance was splendid and the concept refreshing and funny with plenty of music and dance. The only problem was a certain line during intermission

ladies lineso go before you sit down and if you need the ladies (and the men’s also by the way) room again, tear out of there and prepare to race back to your seats as they only break for 15 minutes.

The terrific cast included Hamish Linklater in his now familiar doubling of good and bad characters (see last year’s Comedy of Errors), Lily Rabe,

linklater and rabe(broadwayworld.com) Kate Burton and Raul Esparza who did a spot-on Sinatra turn and moved like lightning. Kudos to the director, Dan Sullivan, who gave us Errors last year also. The show ended with a knock-out dance finale that had everyone laughing and cheering.

Once the reviews come out, I know there will be a big rush to get these senior tickets but don’t let that deter you. It’s great sitting with our confreres on this very literate line and joining the throngs of young and old who flock to the Park. Don’t miss it.







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