“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo…?”
“Shakespeare in the Park” has long been on my hit-list of summer events to attend in Toronto, but somehow, until this year, it never quite made the cut. When my husband left a week before me with our toddler on a plane to Europe, and I was left with an open calendar, a night off and a burning desire to get the hell of the house, I finally bought a ticket. Or would have, if it wasn’t pay by donation, which it is.
Partial to Othello, with a soft spot for Macbeth and a love for Romeo and Juliet that is so cliche, it’s a little embarrassing, I was delighted when I found out that during this year’s run of Shakespeare in High Park, Canadian Stage would be performing A Comedy of Errors, one of the plays that didn’t make it onto the high school curriculum, or university reading list, or sadly my bookshelf thereafter (for which there is really no excuse).
Amateurs in the Amphitheater
The show started at 8 o’clock and I was warned to arrive early in order to ensure good seats (or any seats at all). Pulling in around 6:30pm, my girlfriend and I snagged the last two seats in the outdoor amphitheater where the production was to take place. Once we were seated, we realized that we had completely underestimated our entourage. Our stomachs rumbled as we saw veterans of the soiree pull out picnic baskets filled with sushi and wine, staring down at our roasted chickpeas and cheddar popcorn in disappointment (amateur move #1) and we continually shifted cheek to cheek as our bums squeaked loudly against the plastic bag we’d made into a make-shift blanket (amateur move #2) longing for something soft to separate our skin from the ants crawling beneath us.
Thankfully as I was buying a couple bottled waters, I realized that you can also rent a blanket for the entirely of the show! Woo hoo! One problem solved. Our derrieres slowly regained circulation and our body temperatures started to rise. Let it be known that the show catering company whose name escapes me offered a lovely array of snacks for a very reasonable price! The blanket cost about $4 or so for the whole night and let me tell you, it was SO worth it.
A Comedy of Errors (Oh, the Irony…)
As the clocked ticked its way closer to 8pm, two more girlfriends joined us with some candy and chocolate mix that upped our food game a few notches. Unlike us, these two brought their own blanket and we started feeling much more event appropriate.
Then, all of a sudden it started. The actors took their places and the play began. The quality of the actors was absolutely unparalleled, and the script hilarious! Well done William, well done. The irony that ensued was unmistakable. Nearly five minutes into the play, I reached over to offer one of my girlfriends a handful of candy, and inadvertently knocked over a can of cider. Five minutes later, one of my girlfriends opened a bottle of water that was a little too bubbly and promptly moistened our surrounding audience. A comedy of errors? We were it.
The play lasted about 2 hours and was the absolute perfect way to spend a summer night in the city! Looking for something different to do, in support of a great organization? Look no further. Shakespeare in the park! Get thee there, and have some fun.