Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Measure for Measure in the Park

New Yorkers do many crazy things, but the whole Shakespeare in the Park ticket frenzy is my favorite. It involves:

1) slunking out of your comfortable bed around 3 or 4am
2) gathering in an orderly line outside Central Park with beach chairs and coolers until it opens at 6am
3) sitting in line - sometimes with no shade - until 1pm in HOPES of a free Shakespeare in the Park ticket

It's completely worth it. I stuck it out for the first time last year to see The Merchant of Venice (with Al Pacino!), and knew this would become a tradition. The theater is beyond amazing, and I adore how quirky the whole process is. On my first attempt at tickets in 2010, I showed up at 6am, only to be laughed at as I walked and walked and walked past the mile-long line of people who got there before me. 

The next weekend, I was armed with the rules that a veteran ticket waiter bestowed upon me. There is a big 'no cutting' policy. It's strictly enforced by both line monitors, and the people around you. This gets tricky when meeting friends - if they don't get there when you do, you have to go in the back of the line to sit with them.

There's also food delivery to the line from nearby delis and pizzarias. This is convenient, because you can't leave your spot for more than 10 minutes. It's common to see a delivery person looking frantically for 'John by the second water fountain.'

Last Saturday we did it all over again, and saw an awesome production of Measure for Measure:
There was no Al Pacino, but the entire experience was just as magical. I never read the play before, but can't wait to sit down with it now. "Some rise by sin, some by virtue fall." I am in love with that quote, Shakespeare! In LOVE!

Since the season is over, I can't spoil the surprise by telling you they played "Sympathy for the Devil" at the end. And it made total sense! That song either inspired or set the tone for the stage direction.

If you're a New Yorker and haven't gone yet - don't hesitate next year. You live in a shoe box. You pay $2 for a Snapple. You are prone to foolishness! The city has toughened you up and warped your sense of normal enough to make it a good idea. I promise.

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