Monday, August 11, 2008

Shakespeare by the Lake

Now is the winter of our discontent…

There was nothing to be discontented about on Friday evening, as the sun set over a shimmering, cerulean Lake Tahoe and the brilliant stars slowly emerged in the wide black sky. Andrew and I had taken my parents, visiting from Pittsburgh, to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival to see Richard III—a repeat visit for us, having seen Romeo and Juliet at the festival last year.

I’ve written about the festival on this blog before, but it is such an amazing event it bears repeating. The plays take place at the Sand Harbor State Park, on a stage in an open-air theater that has Lake Tahoe as the backdrop. The first ten rows or so feature Adirondack chairs with wide armrests, where theater-goers enjoy the dinners they've ordered in advance from Shakespeare’s Kitchen. The next rows of seats are on a sand-covered hill; and above that is the “upper gallery,” where you can rent a low-to-the-ground lawn chair for $3 and have a volunteer with a shovel help you nestle your chair firmly into the sand. These are the cheapest seats in the house, at $22, but I believe they’re the best—you have an excellent view of the lake as well as the stage, and there’s a warm energy among the people unpacking their blankets and picnics before the show.

I can’t lie: I was wary about Richard III. The history plays have never been very interesting to me; I prefer the comedies. But the play was excellent, just as it was last year. Granted, it’s difficult to follow the double-crossings and killings and proposals and marriages of large, complex, warring families like there are in Richard III, but we all did our best and had a wonderful time. 

Relaxing on King’s Beach in the afternoon

The theater at Sand Harbor State Park 

View from our hotel room—couldn’t have been any closer to the lake unless we’d been in it

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