Last weekend, Juan and I made the trek from the Westside to Los Feliz to watch the Independent Shakespeare Company perform "Much Ado About Nothing" as part of their annual Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival. It's one of my favorite summer traditions -- there's something magical about sitting outside, surrounded by trees, watching a production of Shakespeare.
Once we traversed the labyrinth that is Griffith Park (I highly recommend reading the detailed directions on ISCLA's site), we spread out our beach towels and unpacked our modest spread of cheese and crackers amongst the elaborate picnics fit for Richard III -- seriously, people mean business here -- and settled in for the performance.
"Much Ado About Nothing" has everything you could possibly want in a Shakespearean comedy -- illegitimate siblings, disguises, rumors, strong females leads, fake deaths, incompetent law enforcement officers, a modest double wedding. What more could you ask for...
...Beatrice and Benedict indiscriminately wandering through the audience during the eavesdropping scenes? Yes! Hiding behind beach chairs, borrowing hats as disguises, mooching booze from the audience -- this production features a lot of hilarious interactions between the actors and the audience.
When the sun sets, the lights of the stage take on new life in the twilight, the natural sounds of the park start to become part of the play. It's really something special.
I highly recommend making it to a showing of "Much Ado About Nothing" this summer and donating a few dollars after the performance. After all, it's free and we'd all like to help keep it that way!
What about you? Have you enjoyed Shakespeare in the park this summer? What's your favorite play by the Bard?
PS. If you haven't seen Joss Whedon's contemporary interpretation of "Much Ado About Nothing," get thee to Netflix! Would highly recommend!