Our very first Shakespeare experience was….
… fried chicken, blueberries and cherries, brownies, popcorn and the rare and wonderful treat of a cold, fizzy drink.
It was a too small blanket, itchy legs, sticky bodies and smiles anyhow.
It was a girl in madras shorts and pink Converse hi-tops passing out programs while the band played Purple Haze. (My young guitar man insisting all the while that it’s only REALLY a Jimi Hendrix song if it’s played left handed – otherwise it’s just a cheap copy)
It was big kids, kicking off shoes, making new friends, climbing trees before the show begins.
It was mamas and papas, arms outstretched, chasing wobbly toddlers down a grassy hill. They were spraying chubby legs with bug repellant and no doubt wondering if they should have brought the sunscreen afterall.
It was teenagers, who clearly put some care into their careless dress – - teenagers who probably noticed nothing all night but the electricity passing between their own hands and the hands that they held onto.
It was college kids in tight knit circles discussing their finals and beginnings, feeling their freedom, the whole wide world unfolding before them.
It was empty nesters drinking white wine from plastic cups and feeling their freedom too… a different kind of freedom – - the kind that comes from knowing that the best piece of that wide world has been claimed and is now wrapped in tissue paper, safely tucked away in a breast pocket.
It was glittery fairy wings and kartwheels under a sliver of a moon.
It was fireflies and music notes hung like stars in the night sky.
It was a little boy of mine feeling a little star struck as he shook Puck’s hand at intermission.
It was a hillside of people holding their breath, leaning in, laughing, cheering, each one amazed that 400 years later Mr. Shakespeare can still move us.
It was carrying basket and blanket and a sleepy little man to the car with two more walking slowly, heavily behind.
It was a long quiet ride home, a whispered request, and promise that yes, we can do it again.
Austinites – DREAM! (a free 60s rock rendition of Midsummer Night’s Dream presented at Zilker Park) will show this weekend and next. I wasn’t sure how we’d do with Shakespeare, but we all really loved it and can’t wait for their next production!
The play is presented in the original language, so if you plan to take your young folks you might consider familiarizing them with the story beforehand. Great resources for this? Jim Weiss and a book called Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children.
Looking for more about how to introduce children to Shakespeare? Look no further.
Happy weekending, friends!