To Attend or Not to Attend, That is the Question

I was talking with a childhood friend on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and we agreed that the best thing a very bigoted 5th grade teacher had taught us was that Shakespeare was accessible. We presented a scaled down version of MacBeth and while I can’t remember all my lines any more, I well remember how Jeff Puritz (playing MacBeth) had a longer sword than I did (I was MacDuff) and in our duel I had to tell him to drop it so I could “kill” him.

Most of us are put off by Shakespeare because of less enjoyable school experiences but he was one of the regular people and his plays are full of rowdy behavior. It really is time to try it again as an adult, and bring the kids!

When Sam was 12 years old we spent a couple of days in Ashland, Oregon. One day we went on a marvelous white water rafting trip with Momentum River Expeditions on the Klamath River. The next day we went to Sam’s first ever introduction to Shakespeare.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival runs from February to October, presenting at least 2 Shakespeare and 2 non-Shakespeare options each day. Now most people might not think The Taming of the Shrewis the best show to introduce a young adolescent to the Bard, but Sam has been eager and willing for more since then.  Presented in a replica of the Globe Theatre, open to the night sky, the setting added to the value of the experience.

Besides Stratford-on-Avon, Shakespeare festivals are held in many nations and in many languages. Dubrovnik, Croatia holds a Shakespeare Festival the end of April each year. The weather is superb and the setting in the Lovrijenac Fortress is unlike any other stage setting you will enjoy

And, similar to my 5th grade experience, some theater companies are empowering young actors through producing high quality classical theater.  The Bards of Birmingham (Alabama) is holding a Shakespearean workshop for grades 5-12 on July 28.  Other theater ensembles and university drama departments offer programs for young people during school breaks.

So, if you are a fan of Shakespeare already, you could plan a vacation around one of these festivals, or if you are planning a trip, check into the local theater schedule in that place and  plan one highbrow evening. You may be surprised how earthy the experience will be!

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2 Responses to To Attend or Not to Attend, That is the Question

  1. Gunta says:

    My husband was involved in launching the Ashland Festival. It’s turned into quite a draw for that area and beyond.

  2. We enjoyed out time there and will go back.

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