Monday, July 30, 2012

Actor! Actor!

Enjoying my summer and doing OK.
For quite a few years, my husband and I visited a dear friend who lives in the bucolic Hudson Valley of New York. It is about an hour and a half outside the city, but the differences can be measured in light years. While everything about NY is large, noisy and with high energy, the countryside outside the city is quaint and serene, and people enjoy the slower pace of life.  This is the home to many celebrities, ordinary people and a few left-over hippies.  It is also home to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival that runs from June 12th to September 2nd and is held on the grounds of  the Boscobel mansion in Garrison, New York. 



http://hvshakespeare.org
The site is situated on a cliff above the Hudson River and people are encouraged to picnic before the show. The scenery is breathtaking. Those times that we were there were some of the loveliest I have had on a vacation, enhanced more so by the old friends with whom we shared the evenings.



We have been unable to attend this festival for the past two years and I have missed these trips.  However, we looked around and have found alternatives.  We realized that towns all over have events like this planned, you just have to let yourself be open to the experiences.  Just because actors do not work in New York, London, or LA does not mean they are any less talented.  As a matter of fact, many of your hometown neighbors may have more talent in their little finger than Angelina Jolie, they just don't have her lips.

Two weeks ago I noticed that the Summer Arts Series in our area was presenting an Evening of Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost.  I checked out the specifics, asked hubby if he was interested (not so much) and invited some friends along (no takers).  Not discouraged, because I knew in the end that hubby would go (just needed some encouragement), I packed a picnic basket of shrimp, cheese, strawberries and freshly baked cookies along with a bottle of fine wine (encouragement for hubby), and with some folding chairs in hand, off we went.  Even though it was only 10 minutes away, we had a little trouble finding the location but after asking around, we were directed to a park located behind the Whole Foods store.  It was not exactly Boscobel.   We were one of the first to arrive but many people had chosen the option of a before-hand dinner held at a restaurant up the street from the event.  Some of the actors were rehearsing so we had a preview of what was to come.  The backdrop was a grove of bushes and it seemed to work very well, although again, not exactly Boscobel.  Behind us sat the matriarch and patriarch of the village and while we dined, they chewed our ears off about the history and politics of the area.  Then our local state senator came and sat with them and like all politicians, soon had his hand in my basket of cookies.  He was a very nice fellow though and I enjoyed getting to know him.  Then the show began.



It got better.


As we drank our fine wine, it got even better.







And after 2 glasses of wine, it got even better.



The event cost us $10.00, the after-show party was $15.00 each and included a beverage, some light fare and a chance to hob-nob with the cast.  A jazz group entertained us as we enjoyed our refreshments in the outside gardens of a 250 year old inn.  The acting troupe was local and will probably never get a chance to play at Boscobel  There were no interesting sets or props, and no jet set people in the audience, but the evening was just fine.  So my advice is to look around your small villages or towns, enjoy what have in your area, meet some new neighbors, and encourage the arts.  You might be surprised at what you find. 

Just in case it does not turn out well though, it might be wise to pack some spirits to get you through the evening.   It can't hurt.





30 comments:

  1. Hello Arleen:
    we do so agree that one does have to be open to new experiences, as you say, and it really does appear that you had an excellent and very enjoyable evening. And by the way, your picnic supper sounds to have been absolutely delicious.

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    1. It was indeed fun. We did not expect much, but we were surprised at how well the actors did with so little.

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  2. We even have a Shakespearean evening here in backwater France. An English touring company stops by once a year (in summer), and performs al fresco.

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    1. Somehow I have a feeling that your sitel for the play was nicer than a park behind a Whole Foods store.

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  3. This would be heaven for me! I have seen Shakespeare performed in the Regent's Park (London) Open-Air theatre and at the Globe, which is a faithful reproduction of the place where Will worked (built in 1599).
    Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Oh, how lucky you are. No matter where Shakespeare is performed, it is always an experience to be treasured.

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  4. What a magical evening. Thank you so much for taking us to enjoy the show as well.

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    1. You never know what you will find if you take the time to look.

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  5. I like that it's not only an open stage, but actually right there on the lawn. Pretty cool!

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  6. I enjoyed your post! And had no idea you were allowed to bring wine to these events... that puts it in a whole new perspective. ;)

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  7. Love this! Your story made me smile!

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  8. Arleen, you know how to get round a man with that mouth watering picnic you put together. I love the local village events too - they're such good value. One of the most memorable for me was around Christmas time a couple of years ago when a few brave souls staged 'Cinderella'. A lot of the lines were ad-libbed and the stage curtain fell down during the second act. It was hilarious. We bought tickets for the second night and watched it all over again.

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    1. It was the wine , Molly. He is like putty in my hands when I tell him Ithat wine is part of the entertainment.

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  9. It sounds lovely Arleen, including the picnic. It is funny that it can be rather hard to get around to going to something, but when one does it is nearly always worthwhile!

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  10. they have this open stage here in good old harrisburg..i think my daughter dated hamlet in high school.

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  11. Everything gets better when you fuzz the edges a bit.

    :-)

    Pearl

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  12. I used to live in NYC, too! I used to go out to the Island to the Sands Point Renaissance Fair, but I never went to the Hudson Valley. Sounds like you had a lot of fun though. Everything improves with a little wine or mead!

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  13. Good onya...ha ha It looked great. Blessings from the land of Oz.

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  14. That looks like a blast! Yes, sometimes we forget what is right in our backyard. :-)

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  15. I love the costumes. And yeah, a little drinkie can certainly make things more enjoyable -- just a little, mind you!

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  16. Dear Arleen, I really enjoyed this posting, enhanced by the photographs. Thank you. And thank you also for encouraging your readers to find what's happening in our own communities. I needed to hear that because just yesterday I got an announcement of a show about the oil painter Caleb Bingham that the Truman Library here in Independence is sponsoring. I've been dickering in my mind about whether to go or not, but with your encouragement, I'm going to call my sister-in-law and see if she would like to go with me. I'm going! Peace.

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  17. You're right. Sometimes, we get so hung up on the idea of "going someplace", we forget to look around our own backyards, so to speak. Your outing sounds lovely. (And if ya needed it, Whole Foods even has wine!) Loved your lines about Angelina Jolie's lips and the politician with his hand in your cookies. Another fun post.

    Thank you so much for the kind comment about my mother-in-law's death. I truly appreciate it.

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  18. live theatre
    you can't beat it!

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  19. The only thing better than Shakespeare is Shakespeare outdoors. I have wonderful memories of Shakespeare in the Park in NYC. What a treat! Great shots, too. And speaking of great shots, your flower pix make me want to stick my face in there and snort up all the lusciousness.

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  20. Arleen-- you have the best sense of humor-- I'm still laughing over your last line about taking some spirits!!

    I love live theater and plays-- this kind of thing is right up my alley!! A beautiful setting for the play!!
    Xo
    Vicki

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