Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park

Happy Wednesday! To take a break from emailing various college students and organizations, I’ll accomplish composing today’s feature review. Today’s literature post is a little theatrical for the day. As always, you can follow me here on WordPress for future blogs.
Prepare Ye for a Lark! 


 

IMG_0762 - Edited
Painting of Shakespeare in front of the reading room at the University of Oklahoma

 

 Personal History

As a native Texan, I would always visit my Grandmother for every summer starting in 2005. During that time, I was starting to have a small love for theater, but wasn’t one to always want to perform. Between 2008-2010, you could find me in Spanish class writing out a six volume play.

During each summer, my small family would take me to go see a Shakespeare play. For the past fifteen  years, I have attended at least one Shakespeare performance. The timeline of when I actually attended is fuzzy, because I recall certain performances, yet not the official summer I attended my first show. Hint: I most likely went to a shows starting in 2002, but. I don’t recall going consistently until 2005.

On the Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park website, they list shows they have done for each season- something I found useful for trying to recall which performances I’ve seen. The list of performances, by an educated guess are:

Othello (2003)- This one I for sure recall watching at a early age. Still my top favorite, and the one performance I’d like to see again.
The Merry Wives of Windsor (2005)- This was my first attempted read through at home, when I was still in secondary school. I also recall trying to read and comprehend Two Men of Verona. Not much success with that, but it was worth trying.

The Taming of the Shrew (2006, 2017)
King Lear (I believe I’ve seen this one live, if not I recall attempting to read it before required for my junior year in high school)
Hamlet (2004)- I also recall finding the television version
Romeo and Juliet (2005)- least favorite

The Three Musketeers
(2008)- Not 100% sure on this one.

The Merchant of Venice (2011)
Twelfth Night (2014, 2004)
Macbeth (2015)- There’s a UK movie version that’s quite bloody.
Midsummer’s Night Dream (2018)- I’ve also found a television version on PBS years ago. That changed my whole perception of Shakespeare, for television.
King Richard the Third (2018)- Didn’t get to watch the entire performance (more on it below).

Over the years, going to these performances has helped deepen my love for not only Shakespeare, but all kinds of theatrical performances. Musicals and this performances most likely influenced my younger sister to participate in theater. It wasn’t until a few years ago, did I change my major to English-Writing. One class I would love to take soon, is a class on Shakespeare. 

2018 Season
2018 Theater programs

The 2018 Season, & My Disappointments

I’ve only had a couple of summer breaks from going to OSITP. 2016 and other lost years. This year, I was able to attend three out of the four performances and I had to leave King Richard the Third early because intermission didn’t start until 9:30 PM on a Thursday night. When you have to be up at 4 AM, staying up late doesn’t work too well.

Over the past three years, OSITP has changed as a theater company. They no longer perform three more more Shakespeare plays. The first and last play are Shakespeare (performed in the Myriad Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City) and then middle two are at the Paseo. The hotter months are performances done at their small indoor theater, for small independent plays.

That, bothered me a lot this summer. If you are Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, my internal reaction shouts “If you perform Shakespeare, perform Shakespeare ONLY,” but the company has now partnered with the Allied Arts foundation, and certain changes were made. 

giphy

Where OSITP Needs to Improve

1. Food and drink vendors: This summer, Myriad Gardens rebuilt part of the area that performances were done. At the beginning of this summer, attendees were promised that when OSITP returned to the gardens, we’d be able to have food, drinks, and alcohol during the performances. Wonderful! Except, Myriad Gardens turned that area into a kindergarten school. For the 2019 season, I would love it if OSITP was able to hire a food and drink vendor. There’s no water fountains in the garden center, which was the second reason I had to leave the August performance early. Or, at least let attendees know we can bring our own food and drinks.

2. More Shakespeare: I have a sneaky feeling that I might be the only one clamoring for this, but I would love more Shakespeare performances. Hint: you guys have Shakespeare in your company name, why not use it? The way around the transition to indoors during the hotter months, would be to have one show dedicated to reading Shakespeare sonnets, or small scene’s from his plays. In the future, I am planning on only attending the Shakespeare plays. 

3. Start times: I wasn’t happy leaving the King Richard the Third show in early September. They had started the show at 8 PM, and intermission didn’t start until 9:30 PM. We still had two acts to go, at least. If I had stayed the entire show (and continued to be dehydrated), it wouldn’t have ended until 11 PM, which meant I wouldn’t have fallen asleep until after midnight. Indoor performances started at 7, since you didn’t have the heat or the sundown to worry about. 

I’m not as upset as I was with OSITP last month. For now, I’ll still enjoy Shakespeare through discussions, class, reading, and watching the performances. Above I listed some grievances I had with the future direction of this theater company. I realize that it is indeed, a theater company. My opinion is something that is small and doesn’t match up with Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park’s goals. 

And there’s something else, too. Oklahoma is an interesting state. While the existence of theater companies are here in the city, there’s no more than fifty theater companies. Maybe less than that. My point is, maybe the transition to two Shakespeare plays a summer and adding more contemporary plays appeals to those who want to go to a theater performance, but not Shakespeare. Again, these performances has helped deepen my love for not only Shakespeare, but all kinds of theatrical performances.


I hope you enjoyed this blog today. If you did, always feel free to share this with friends and family.. Let’s talk about Shakespeare in the comment section below and I wish you the best this week.

Happy Fall, 
Danielle

P.S.

For all my 300+ followers, I plan on creating a fun downloadable document for you guys by the end of the month. Keep on reading and writing!

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