All the Parks a Stage in Summer: A Leisure for Less Post

Hi F&F,

Quickly; tell me what word comes to mind when you think about the word summer?  (It would be great if you would post your word  in  the comments)

Ok; did you do it?

Come on; play along.  I’ll wait…..

OK; I’m guessing you said Shakespeare.  Am I right?


Wow, I’m surprised because Shakespeare and summer go together like, summer and sand, or summer and sunscreen or summer and tomatoes. (Check out my  Weekly Photo Challenge post  for the meaning of that last pairing)

There’s no better time than summer to get your Bard on.  Across the country Shakespeare festivals of every ilk take to the great and not so great outdoors (I once followed a production of Hamlet through a Lower East Side parking lot).  That means we get to enjoy some blank verse while sitting on a blanket; under a blanket of stars.  We get to experience some iambic pentameter beyond the perimeter of the proscenium arch; a couplet while sipping a couple of brewskies.  You get the picture?

Shakespeare in the Park performances held in Delaware Park
Image Source Page:–how-i-overcame-my-prejudice-against-buffalo

I think Shakespeare and other theater pieces can  benefit from an outdoor venue.  Plays are given a good airing out.  Outdoor performances  can be generously funded or done on a shoestring budget, but all take care to create productions to take full advantage of the setting.

Audiences seem more open and responsive in and open air setting. The laugher is louder for the comedies.  A moving soliloquy spoken in a dark park, with only the sound of crickets, can be an intensely affecting experience.  Romances seem more passionate when viewed on a sultry evening;  punctuated  with a whisper soft breeze.

Certainly there are some things about  outdoor theater that can be off-putting.  I advise you to arm your forearms and legs, and any other body parts that will be exposed, with insect repellent. As the sun sets the critters can turn the scene into dinner theater; with you as the main course.  I’ve seen actors struggle to overcome  the ambient noise of certain locations and sometimes  audience members forget  to practice their inside voice while outside, but despite all that  – I highly recommend it.

To help you find a production close to home or close to where you are vacationing, I’m sharing with you links to 2 websites.  The Institute of Outdoor Drama has a searchable website; allowing for searches based on  theater company name, location or category.  Another source of information is the annual New York Times feature article highlighting productions across the country. The list contains indoor and outdoor  productions.

Summer theater in the outdoors is Leisure for Less worthy because admission to these productions can be found for free; or for a suggested donation; or at reduced ticket prices.  Many of these productions are a training ground for talented yet “undiscovered”  actors, directors and production crews.  Also, some of these productions attract established stars who are moonlighting and looking to stretch in ways that their television or movie roles (day jobs) don’t allow.

Pack a picnic; pick a Shakespeare tragedy, a Sondheim musical or a Shaw comedy and get thee to a theater in the park.




About atreegrowsinbklyn

I’m an analog girl living in a digital world. I’m happy except when I’m sad. I’m serious, smart and sophisticated except when I’m silly, obtuse and crude. I’m ambitious and disciplined; except when I’m apathetic and self indulgent. I‘m thoughtful, generous and honest; except when I’m insensitive, cheap and lying. I’m grateful; I’m grateful; I am grateful.
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6 Responses to All the Parks a Stage in Summer: A Leisure for Less Post

  1. Touch2Touch says:

    You actually DO enjoy these!
    Your wicked humor comes through nonetheless, beginning right up front with the airing out of the plays (you double-entendre person, you) —
    And you’re right on about the dinner theater scene — My epidermis is five star cuisine for mosquitoes et cie.
    So no, my summer and – pairing was NOT Shakespeare in the park. It was — wait for it — summer and prickly heat. (How anti-romantic can one get?)
    But I do in all sincerity think this is a great post, both light and informative.

  2. Patti Kuche says:

    You sure have set the scene – can’t wait!

  3. sustylife says:

    Parks are the perfect setting for theatre! I try to take advantage of as many as possible. I’m looking forward to seeing this years two Shakespeare productions in Central Park!

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