Sunday, August 15, 2010

Best. Play. Ever!

That was Asa's comment after seeing Macbeth tonight at Free Shakespeare in the Park. This was uttered just after the soldiers carrying branches (from Great Birnam Wood) came rushing past our picnic blankets to the battle at Dunsinane. I also heard (though this did not happen to us) that the witches came and switched stuff from  people's picnic baskets and coolers, taking and leaving food as they went. What fun!

MacBeth : For Kids (Shakespeare Can Be Fun series)Mackenzie of course loves the Bard. In fact, just to torture him, I showed him this book from the (I'm not making this up) "Shakespeare Can Be Fun!" series) My kids, being homeschoolers, find any of the "Learning Can Be Fun!" type stuff intensely amusing. Like our society has made learning into such a horrifying thing that we now need to dress it up in exciting ways so that kids might actually like it again. Hey, I've got an idea, how about making it Not Boring in the first place? Even fidgety Asa was more than happy to sit through Shakespeare's weighty verses because damn it, the man could write a fine play. Love, death, murder, friendship, swordfights, what's not to like?? No need to "make it fun".

William Shakespeare's MacbethMeanwhile, the day before going to see the play, I did check this excellent book out from the library: William Shakespeare's Macbeth. It was the best re-telling of the story in the kids' section, including lots of good actual quotes from the script, and had beautiful illustrations. There are a couple of nice-looking graphic novel editions as well, but they were all checked out.We discussed the story and I think the kids were really ready to see it in its full version. Although Free Shakespeare in the Park does lack some in sets (I first saw Macbeth at the awe-inspiring Ashland Shakespeare Festival and the staging of the witches on the moors was incredible!) and costumes, one thing I like is that with being able to sit 10 feet away on a picnic blanket, for some reason it makes it seem so much more accessible. Even the language is easier to understand when you can see the actors' expressions up close and personal. They do quite a nice job with their plays, and used real swords with some nice sword-fighting choreography thrown in. The weather was warm and pleasant but not too hot, and we got to enjoy some chicken, grapes, and chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons (which has become our annual "Shakespeare treat"). Yes, Shakespeare can be fun!

1 comment:

janasmama said...

Sounds great! I have wanted to see one of these Shakespeare in the Park but I feel like my kids wouldn't sit through it with interest although they do love the other ones that have been there. I love how they use the mini amphitheatre as part of the stage.