Monday, July 23, 2007

Shakespeare in the parks

I missed out on Elvis week in Memphis by about two months. Missed the Arkansas State Beauty Pageant by three days. Missed the alien festival in Roswell by a few weeks. I missed the Iron Horse Rodeo in Red Lodge, Montana by about twelve hours.

That's the problem with such a freewheeling travel schedule. Visiting these festivals takes planning, something I'm not fond of. Chancing upon them takes a bit of serendipitous luck, something that doesn't come my way too often. Until last night.

A friend in Milwaukee had e-mailed me about Montana Shakespeare in the parks, but I just assumed my travels with Black Betty would never align with their schedule. But then I pulled into Silver Gate just outside of Yellowstone, and low and behold, there they were setting up for last night's FREE show: "The Merry Wives of Windsor."

I ate dinner at a small cafe where the tatooed waiter kept calling me 'brother' ("Can I get you another beer, brother?" "No thanks, Desmond."), and the show began at 6:30.

"The Merry Wives of Windsor" is based around the shenanigans of Falstaff, the comedic relief character in the Henry plays, and is regarded by most scholars as one of the Bard's "lesser" plays. Trying to follow a Shakespeare play I'm not familiar with is like trying to follow, well, most Shakespeare plays, but the brilliant lead (who looked like Paul Giamatti's character in "The Illusionist") made it more than worth it.

I used to be really into theater in high school and college, which is why I still enjoy stuff like this. The closest I ever came to acting in Shakespeare, however, was auditioning for "The Spanish Tragedy," which isn't even Shakespeare but is of course an Elizabethan revenge tragedy (of course!). I pretty much stuck to modern works by the likes of Steve Martin, David Ives and Eric Bogosian.

After the play, I continued along the Beartooth Highway (US 212) and finally pulled into a picnic area for the night at Beartooth Lake. This is what I woke up to this morning:

I continued along the Beartooth Highway, winding through nervewracking switchbacks high in the Beartooth Mountains, feeling like I was driving through "The Lord of the Rings" set. I stopped for gas in Red Lodge, home of the aforementioned Iron Horse Rodeo, and was swarmed by Harleys gassing up for the long ride home. I thought about showing them my tatoo for street cred, but somehow I don't think they'd be too impressed by a feather.

1,000 bonus points if you name the TV reference in this post.


48statebus said...

Desmond on Lost....

...too e-z, brother

Kristin D said...

Yippee for you, envy for me. $5 if you can guess who the specila actor is...

Anonymous said...

carp...can't type.

... specila should read 'special'.

haha. carp=crap.

Hilary said...

Free Shakespeare plays sound awesome! well, free things are pretty awesome in general but i also love the idea of outdoor theatre. You are getting closer to Madison, just as Bhavesh and I are leaving, but I like I said I think I have a friends place for you if you want. I love the pictures, are you taking a million of them.

48statebus said...

Kristin d,

well if you're talking about the "special actor" who plays Desmond then the name is Henry Ian Cusick....thank you if not then I'm not sure I understand the question

Scotticus said...

I have hundreds of pictures so far. I guess this blog is also doubling as a highlights reel.

I think Kristin was referring to one of the actors from the Shakespeare play (she told me she used to work with him).

Don't have the program with me, but I would guess the guy who played Falstaff. Just kidding.