Early Summer Night’s Dream

by Stefani on 21-May-2010

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!

greta May 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

I love this. It made me tear up. Isn’t it just so wonderful to share the wide, wide world with our children?
Love from,

Stefani May 24, 2010 at 11:50 am

It really is. I think half of the things we do, at least, wouldn’t be nearly so wonderful if it weren’t for the fact that I’m getting to see it through their eyes. They certainly make everything new.

Dawn May 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Delurking to say hi and how lovely that post was. I’m with Greta definitely a tear jerker and so well said. We have a free Shakespeare in the park thing where I live and you just got me thinking about taking our two year old, maybe she’d enjoy some popcorn and fizzy drinks!

Stefani May 24, 2010 at 11:52 am

Well hello, Dawn! I’m glad you came out of the shadows! I was really surprised by how family-friendly this event was. We would have gone LONG before now if I’d known. You should definitely give it a go!

kelleynr@yahoo.com May 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm

How cool! I need to look into seeing if we have anything like this in our area.

Kerry May 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Looks amazing! Thanks for the links, perfect timing!

Hannah May 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Oh my! I had been wondering when Zilker Shakespeare would be playing, knowing it’s the right time of year. We’ve seen several productions that way but I kept forgetting to look it up online. We definitely should go — E. has listened to Jim Weiss tell the MSD story many, many times.

We also love the Zilker Summer Musical. Isn’t our city terrific?

Stefani May 24, 2010 at 11:52 am

And do you know what this year’s musical is????
ANNIE!!!!! I can’t wait!

Liz May 22, 2010 at 12:14 am

How neat! We’re 6 hours north of Austin, but looking for someplace to go camping next weekend… And I think you just helped me find it!

Stefani May 24, 2010 at 11:53 am

Camping in/near Austin is so great because you can have all the beauty of nature and all the comforts of city life. You should definitely check out Emma Long (sometimes called City Park).

Diane May 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Looks like alot of fun. Our daughter just finished performing in a short version of Hamlet and we recently watched a high school performance of Taming of the Shrew. The last 8 weeks have been all about Shakespeare with performances, readings, and study.

Stefani May 24, 2010 at 11:55 am

How wonderful! We are so eager to see more of this now! I’m going to have to find out if any of our local high schools are planning public performances. Teenagers are fascinating you know, but teenagers on stage? Now that might just be the height of fantastic 🙂

Virginia May 23, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Beautiful writing, I wish I could write about my experiences like this. I used to love the free shows in the park in Austin. How much fun to take your kids to see shakespear in the park. Sounds delightful!

Jessica May 24, 2010 at 9:41 am

I love the way you write – it makes me feel so much. I can imagine it as if I were on the same hillside with my own little troop of my wide world. Note to self: Must take kids to Shakespeare in the park this summer…

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