It is one thing studying Shakespeare and another thing to see it in action. Even if you’re like me and don’t consider yourself the type to hang out at gallery openings, I recommend that you take a trip out of your normal routine and head to Maynardville.
The annual Shakespeare at Maynardville has been running for the past 58 years. Even during apartheid, the cast and audiences have always been multi-racial. These shows have a special connection with schools and have exposed thousands of scholars to the world of Shakespeare as it should be – live on stage.
I first had the privilege of attending Shakespeare in the Park back in Matric with the rest of my class. I watched the crazy, frenzied rave version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream and was instantly taken – I wanted to come back every year! Alas, life gets in the way and I kept procrastinating.
When my sister called me saying a friend had tickets to the Artscape prduction but could not attend, I immediately agreed – no questions asked (and thank you, you know who you are). My parents and beau all headed off to the 56th showing of Shakespeare in the Park.
We dressed warmly knowing that it was open air. I brought a small blanket along too. We got there around 7.30pm and found parking quite easily in the street just off Main Road. It was a short walk to the entrance.
While the doors were closed, people were mingling and enjoying the coffee from Kamili Coffee and wine stall from Diemerfontein wines. Kamili were totally ready for the evening and served us delicious cappuccinos in an efficient and friendly manner. There was also a tuck-shop selling a range of chips and cool drinks. Some people were still enjoying picnics on the grass. Apparently picnic baskets were available from the Four&Twenty café.
Just before 8.15 pm we were ushered into the amphitheater. We were seated close to the back but had a good view of the stage. We waited in anticipation. An announcement was made to please turn off cellphones and that no photography was permitted. I double checked that my dad’s phone was off. You know how parents can be.
Soon we were transported to Shakespeare’s Venice. The sound was excellent, the lighting was immaculate and there was some great acting. Of course, being underneath the stars and watching the birds soar by added to the dreamy atmosphere. We watched the noble Othello, the headstrong Desdemona and the jealous Iago pace along the stage. I also enjoyed the performances of Emilia and Cassio.
After about an hour there was a 20 minute break and I got my second dose of caffeine from Kamili – again, extremely fast (and yummy). Also, the weather was not too bad. I was not that cold.
I have never studied Othello but knew that it has some controversial language. It was interesting and thought provoking, however, and I immediately read up more about it upon arriving home.
The tickets are not cheap but they are totally worth it. They also offer discounts for groups, scholars and the elderly. You can read more about the weather and discounts here.
Mark my words, next year I will be back for some more Shakespearean fun under the moonlight!
Tickets: Available from Computicket and the Artscape
Dress code: Dress any way you want, just make sure that you’ll be warm!
Run time: 14 January 2015 to 21 February 2015