Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm not titling this A Midsummer's Night dream

We had an absolutely fantastic weekend of truly epic proportions, but I still absolutely refuse to work that into the title of this post. Even if it was dreamy, and in summer. And at least partially at night.
As fervently mentioned in previous posts, Nick and I spent the weekend at the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City. In spite of my trepidations, it wasn't nearly as Ren-fairish as it might well have been. Thus I did not have to punch* anyone in the face for the entire weekend. It was lovely.

Our highbrow activities started with dinner on Friday at the Garden House where we had baked Brie as an appetizer. Baked Brie! I don't generally tend to wax lyrical about dairy products, but I might just have make an exception for this little platter of tastiness. It was a wedge of Brie, wrapped in phyllo pastry, then baked and served with fresh fruit, crackers and the tastiest cranberry topping ever. "topping" doesn't even do justice to the little red pearls of ambrosia on my plate. Oh wow! We'll definitely be trying to recreate that during "French week". Dinner was good, but nothing too wildly ambitious, and then we had raspberry crème brûlée for dessert. It was very good, but we got it 'to go' so we could eat it later, so I couldn't break the sugar myself, which is honestly half the fun of crème brûlée. We rounded off the evening with a trip to the theatre where we saw Molière's School for Wives. It was a very fun piece, and I thought they did an excellent job of presenting a pretty dense text "to the masses". Before I sound too snotty here, let me explain: This is a play written for a 1662 Parisian audience who both spoke and thought differently than we do. To be able to make an audience in Cedar City, Utah in 2008 laugh at the same jokes and stay entertained by basically people talking in the same space for two hours is no small feat. Although apparently the two husbands sleeping behind us didn't feel the same way. I don't think I could really afford a $34 nap, but maybe that's just me?

The next day we had tickets to see The two Gentlemen of Verona by old Shakey himself. I hadn't seen it or read it before, so it was interesting to get to know a new play, especially one of his earlier ones. It was very well done, but sadly, by comparison to the other two, it was our least favourite. At least part of that was probably the fact that we were on the balcony behind a very tall wall. This had the effect that the people in the front balcony row were craning their necks to see over the wall, and the people on the second row were craning their necks to see over the people on the front row. And we were on the third row. I did like how they had kept the set fairly authentic to the time period, and the costuming was great. Oh, and it had a dog in it! Sweet puppy! The downside was really that the text was so dense that the actors seemed to feel like they had to do extraordinary amounts of physical comedy to jolly along the audience. It really was funny, but I think they could have relied on the text a bit more. They did have a cute puppy, though :)

We were going to end our play viewing escapades there, but decided last minute to get tickets to see Othello in the Adams theatre. There are two very cool things about the Adams theatre, one being that it is an outdoor theatre, the other being that it is a fairly accurate replica of the Globe in London (which is itself a replica, but that's another story). You can see it in the background in the photo at the top of this entry. I spent almost as much time looking at the architecture as I did watching the play. And the play was excellent.

I liked the set a lot. They used the bones of the theatre very well, and built a set that was both very simple and very elegant. The costuming was also very well done, but as the festival has won awards for that, I suppose that was only to be expected. I think the casting was both my favourite and my least favourite thing about Othello. Othello and Iago were both especially well played, and exactly as you'd imagine them to be. Iago was short, which added an interesting hint of Napoleon syndrome to him. Desdemona was good, but a little too... I think American is the best word I can imagine for it (sorry!). She was very young and blonde and bouncy and it was a little hard to imagine her putting up with as much crap as she is expected to in the play. I think my main issue with the casting, however, was that a lot of the minor parts were played by very young men. The Duke of Venice seemed especially hard to believe, and Cassio was hardly out of high school. Which I suppose might be plausible, but still... All in all though, it was an exceptional performance of Othello, and it has stayed with me since we saw it.

Which pretty much wraps up my weekend, and thus the first month of my project! Keep the ideas coming. As well as being a fun project for me, I'd also like for it to be good reading for you, so let me know what you think! :)

*As most of you may or may not know, few things make me as angry as people why try to behave like they live in the Middle Ages.


  1. I am ALWAYS lyrical about dairy products. Especially when it comes to cheese! Warm brei is THE BEST with fruit and a sweet topping! Im a bit jealous!

  2. Don't be jealous of my dairy experiences when you live in the Netherlands!