Shakespeare in the park is a big city tradition, allowing the greenery of many a city to experience the bard’s immortal tongue and plot twists. Boston has its own Shakespeare on the Commons tradition, putting on a play every summer right on Boston Commons. It is playing right now and Twelfth Night is the play of choice. Twelfth Night happens to be my personal favorite Shakespearean comedy, and it has been many a day since I have seen it performed. So I was more than happy to risk the almost certain rain and dampened grass for a leisurely three hours listening to those wonderful words. (It almosssst rained but didn’t. The gods were with us).
My compatriots in Shakespeare appreciation and I decided to grab a bite and a cocktail at Stoddard’s, a place I have written about before. We tend to go there after the ballet, as it is right around the corner from the Boston Opera House. But that means it is also really close to the Commons, and thus a great choice if you are headed down to this event. Their food is pretty phenomenal and still reasonably priced. My friend Laura had poutine, a favorite of hers and something I have seen more and more in Boston. I, on the other hand, opted for an all-American burger and fries. It was exactly perfect.
My favorite drink to get there is a French 75, which usually includes gin. I ask for it with cognac instead and it is just out of this world delicious. The bartenders there are the ones that actually introduced me to that substitution and are really great at improvising. Plus, their drink menu changes really often and is always full of really memorable and oddly named concoctions.
But to the Shakespeare. Twelfth Night runs until August 10 and is free to attend. They do a pass the hat with a suggested donation of $10 so its all very reasonable. And Ben & Jerry’s parks a tantalizing truck right behind you too. All very convenient and lovely. The performance is a lot of fun. I tend to prefer Twelfth Night played for its darker and more subtle elements, and that is not something this production does in the least, but I still had a great time.
The actors are decent, with some standing out as being truly good (Malvolio, Olivia, and a handsome Antonio… it was the voice). Theres a strange eighties vibe going on with the sets and music that I could have done without and the production is best when they let Shakespeare happen without so much interference… but if you can overlook that then you are in for a fun time.
I certainly had a sweet time sharing a blanket and some tea with friends. A very English major outing, of course, but enjoyable for all. Hope you guys have a chance to catch it before it’s gone!
Sorry these pictures aren’t mine, photography is rather discouraged.