Shakespeare in the Park, one of Nashville’s greatest park-related traditions, begins this Thursday. When I say “tradition” I mean that they’ve been doing this for 23 years. I know it’s not saying a lot in the grande scheme of things, but that’s longer than I’ve been alive, and you have to have some serious respect for them.
Sadly, I’ve never been to see a Shakespeare in the Park performance, but in my defense I wasn’t living in Nashville last August. That only makes me even more excited to be able to check everything out this year.
This year Nashville Shakes is performing Love’s Labor’s Lost, which I had never actually heard of before. If you haven’t either, here’s the synopsis:
Love’s Labor’s Lost is a witty romantic comedy about four young men who take an oath to dedicate three years to strict study, renouncing the distractions of love and the company of women. But on that very day, four beautiful women show up, and nature takes her course! Focusing on the theme of “the birds and the bees,” the play will be set in the late 19th century: bustles and tail coats, gloves, fans and whimsical hats will make the show look like a Victorian Valentine. Adding a layer of physical comedy, the actors have studied birds’ courtship rituals in order to incorporate the distinctive bobbing, strutting and fluttering of birds into their performances. The show features original music, with the violinist taking on the role of Cupid. This show will delight all ages with colorful, animated characters, clownish antics, romance and ridiculousness in the pursuit of love!
They don’t have chairs set up for this event, only bleachers, so you might want to bring your own seating unless you actually enjoy sitting on a hard, flat surface for a few hours. I suggest a blanket, which can be placed closer to the stage than lawn chairs, which have to be set farther back. Their website doesn’t say if you’re allowed to bring your own food and drinks, but there will be vendors there, so you might want to bring your cash. Also, although no one is ever turned away from this event please consider bringing a small donation, as donations are what keeps this event running year after year. They suggest $5.
Shakespeare in the Park is held at the Centennial Park Bandshell and begins on August 19th. It’s held Thursday through Sunday for four weeks, ending on September 12th. The pre-show entertainment starts at 6:30, and it seems like something worth getting there early for. Most days it’s music, but there are a few exceptions, including a day when there will be a magician (which was my career choice when I was 8). The actual performance starts at 7:30. If you have any other questions you can find the FAQ here.