Every year there is a free production of Shakespeare in the Park that kicks off the summer in Forest Park. Every year we talk about going but never go. This year we made it happen. And we kicked ourselves for waiting this long. Lesson learned. Shakespeare in the Park in St. Louis totally rocks.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of these outdoor productions and they did Hamlet. Now I’ll confess, I’m a little rusty on my Shakespeare. Okay, if you consider that I wasn’t really even sure what Hamlet was about, I guess I’m a lot rusty. But, as we discovered last night, it’s okay if you are rusty on your Hamlet. Before the show begins they have “The Green Show” in which they do a 20-minute version of the play. It is VERY good for giving you an overview of the story.
The girls enjoyed it so much they watched it twice. Right next to the Green Show stage, there are tables with crafts for the kids to do.
The kids made masks and crowns and then dressed up with brocade fabrics draped around them and paraded through the crowd with musical instruments.
There was more pre-show entertainment by way of jugglers and jesters who interacted with the crowd.
And then there was the play itself. I was not allowed to take photos during the show, but I did snap a photo of the set before the show started.
Now then, for the 411 on how to do this. I think we avoided this in the past because of the heat and the bugs and the small children we would be toting with us. We figured we need to push through this this year and try it anyway. I’m pretty sure we could have done this in the past and been fine. Here’s what you need to do:
- Arrive by 6pm – The play itself doesn’t begin until 8, but there are things to do beforehand (like The Green Show, crafts, and crowd entertainment). You need to get there early if you have any hope of securing a decent seat.
- Bring blankets and pillows – lawn chairs are optional – We hauled in three blankets and at least 6 pillows in addition to two camping chairs. If we didn’t have the chairs we could have moved up to that “blankets only” section. I’m thinking next year we’ll bring crazy creek chairs or something so we can sit up there. Of the six of us, I’m the only one who used the camping chair the whole show. Everyone else got comfy with the blankets and pillows. We used one blanket to save the spot in front of the girls from anyone tall sitting there and it worked (shhh, don’t tell on us).
- Bring food – I thought packing out dinner would be too big of a hassle this year so we ate at home before we left and just brought some snacks. But really, you have so much time before the show starts, it would have helped the time to pass had we just eaten dinner at the park. Lesson learned.
- Bring jackets – I would never have thought of this, but we were encouraged to bring jackets because by 11pm, it does get a little cool.