There's something enchanting going to an outdoor theatre production. I'm not sure if it's the lack of formal seating (just bring your own lawn chair), the elements of nature (even though it's 90+ degrees), or that you can bring your own picnic dinner and munch while you watch (a major plus).
Last weekend we went to Century College to see Shakespeare & Company's production of Cymbeline. The theatre area is set in an alcove on grounds of the college. The two-story stage is the same each year, but the costumes are very ornate. The actors and actresses enter from across the field and make their way to the stage. During the performance it's common for them to walk among the audience and once in a while interact with them by pointing them out or rummaging into their coolers for a bottle of water. (Although I'm sure they only do this if they happen to be well acquainted with the owner of the water.)
Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare's later plays and not as well-known as Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet or MacBeth. The main story is about Cymbeline, the King of Britain who has a daughter named Princess Imogen. Imogen is in love with one man, but the evil Queen, Imogen's step mother, wants Imogen to marry her son, Cloten. In the style of Shakespeare, there are other subplots - love challenges, changed identities, and thwarted plans that complicate the story in a delightful way. Unlike Shakespeare's comedies and tragedies, Cymbeline has more black and white characters, and yet they remain three-dimensional.
This is Shakespeare & Company's 37th season, and the longest running outdoor theaters in Minnesota. Other years we've seen Hamlet, Merry Wives of Windsor, King Lear, and Comedy of Errors. The mission of the company: "Our goal is to provide an environment where families can come and enjoy an informal picnic atmosphere and see performances of Shakespeare and other classical plays."
Besides Cymbaline, the other plays for this year are Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare) and Tartuffe (Moliere). There are only two weekends left. If you're interested, check out the website for more info or call 651-779-5818.