Posts Tagged ‘open air Shakespeare’

Sunday evening was perfect for watching outdoor Shakespeare.  At 8pm it was still 23 degrees, with hardly any wind.  We went early and enjoyed a picnic tea beforehand.

I’d never seen, or even read, this play, but a synopsis from the Internet made it easy for me to follow.   The speech was clear and understandable even though there were no familiar lines.  The bear was great!

This is a performance well worth seeing, and it continues until 24 February.

“An exit pursued by a bear.
– you really just had to be there.”


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Top Dog Theatre has produced an open air Shakespeare at Mona Vale every summer for 13 years, and we’ve seen them all.   This year’s production is “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, Shakespeare’s first play, which I’d never read.  I was glad I made the effort to download a synopsis beforehand.  Without that I might have had difficulty understanding just what was going on.  The cast did well, and the language was easily understood, but it was strange not to recognise famous lines as I usually can with Shakespeare.  The action was interspersed with familiar songs from the 1960s (which matched the costuming), and I wondered whether these had been added to make it all seem more familiar.

We went to a matinee performance and chose to sit in the shade, but it soon grew cold and windy.  During the interval a number of people moved to sunnier spots.

This is a rare opportunity to see one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known comedies, and definitely worthwhile.

“No folk we know like Desdemona
among these people of Verona.”

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I love to see Shakespeare performed at any time, and there’s something special about seeing it outdoors.  This year’s open air Shakespeare at Mona Vale is “Hamlet”.  Tonight was the first performance, the audience was small (maybe 70) and it was cold, but well worthwhile!

Hamlet cast

Early scene

I was surprised to find that Horatio had had a sex change and become Horatia.  Later Guildenstern also appeared as a female.  I suppose this is payback for all the Elizabethan times when female parts were played by men.  “Hamlet” is probably the play with the most well-known lines, including ‘What a piece of work is man” made so familiar in “Hair”.  Last century when I was in the sixth form, we spent hours over Hamlet’s graveyard scene, but this performance had only one gravedigger and none of the business about whether Ophelia deserved Christian burial.

Ophelia's funeral procession

Ophelia’s funeral procession

They’d actually cut a few scenes, but the cast did very well, providing a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment.  I particularly relished the final scene with corpses dropping in all directions.

The season runs until 20 February.  Make sure you dress warmly.

“Some characters have changed their sex
and missing lines just may perplex.”






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