So, The Wife is sitting on her big, comfy chair in the living room and she’s looking exhausted and stressed over recent events so I come to her and I says,
“What would you like to do this weekend?”
“Ugh. What do you have in mind?”
“Would you like to go to the Shakespeare Festival?”
Eyes perk up. “Are you asking me if I want to go see Shakespeare?”
“Well, the show starts this weekend and the weather is supposed to be decent and we’re going to go at some point and usually we put it off and then the weather gets bad and other stuff comes up and we have to struggle to fit it in. Let’s just go Saturday and get it over with.”
“That’s the most impassioned soliloquy in support of going to a Shakespeare play that I’ve ever heard. Well, from you.”
And so it was that Saturday afternoon we put on our Shakespeare T-shirts and tossed three lawn chairs, a cooler, a picnic basket and my Spider-Man bag (filled with time-killers) into the trunk of the car and made our way to Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. We got there around 5:30 p.m. even though the show wasn’t scheduled to start until 8 p.m. because — you know — people. It turned out it wasn’t very crowded at all and we were able to set up in a pretty good spot.
Once we’re settled in I decide I better take The Son for a walk to kill some of that 2.5 hours before showtime. We make our way to Art Hill and I figure we’ll go down and do a circle around the basin. I thought there was a walking path to the basin. Nope. Had to walk through the tall grass (Yo, City of St. Louis, mow the grass) to get to the basin. Or rather, I had to walk — Andrew ran down the hill.
No biggie. I figure he’ll wait for me when he gets to the bottom. Nope. He just keeps on walking at his usual 5-times-my-own pace. What should’ve been a peaceful walk along the water to admire the fountains turned into a forced march as I tried to catch up with him. It was no use — he’d already got a major lead on me and wasn’t stopping or looking back. ANDREW! ANDREW! Nothing is worse than yelling out to someone in public. He either doesn’t hear me or isn’t listening, so now I have to do that terrible thing where I try to run — get 10 steps and think I’m having a heart attack — go back to walking — try to run — grab my chest in pain — go back to walking — ANDREW! ANDREW! — wedding parties and joggers stare — try to run — walk — ANDREW!
He finally hears me and turns around and runs back to me. We complete our circle of the basin and now have to climb back up the hill. Thankfully, he waited for me when he got to the top. I get him a jumbo hot dog and we eventually get back to our seats.
“Next time you’re walking with him.”
We commence eating and Laurie leaves to check out the gift shop. She comes back with an “Anthony and Cleopatra” T-shirt (If you wait you can get last year’s T-shirt for half off).
So we’re sitting there and Laurie is happier than she’s been in a while so I’m feeling pretty good about myself, at which point we hear Andrew making the ‘ack, ack’ sound and his head is twitching.
Oh Lord. Not a seizure. Not now.
Laurie springs into action, holding his head and neck and I’m holding the chair and keeping him from falling to the ground. After a few seconds, though, he’s stopped and appears fine. A couple of nice people nearby offer to help but we tell them we’re used to it. Laurie of course immediately wants to go home, but I’m not letting something like a micro-seizure ruin this night.
Normally seizures are followed by throwing up and falling asleep, but this time Andrew just kinda looked at us and sat there. He didn’t pass out and his eyes weren’t glassy. Laurie still wanted to go home but I said let’s give him a few minutes. After a few minutes he was back to normal, laughing and drinking water and smiling. Crisis averted.
Eight o’clock finally came and the show got underway. This year Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is performing The Bard’s romantic comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I gave up reading the synopsis halfway through and figured I would just fake my way appreciating it like usual.
Turned out it was one of the easier Shakespeare plays to follow. I’d seen the movie version a few times so I had some inkling of what it was about. It’s an odd story, revolving around two couples, a bumbling acting troupe, and some fairy folk who live in the forest.
Like all SFSL shows it’s a solid production. The actors were all good, the set design was clever, the first act moved quickly but I felt the second act ran a little long. I felt the play scene was dragged out a bit. A couple of nice musical numbers.
The weather was perfect and for a change no loud bands started up in the distance as the show was wrapping up. Andrew made it through the whole thing and we made it home without incident.
And now I don’t have to think about Shakespeare for another year.
“Uh, we are going to see ‘Macbeth’ next week as part of the Opera Theatre Saint Louis series.”
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ runs nightly (except Tuesdays) through June 26 in Forest Park. Free.