How to Make a Decison About Shakespeare

By on 22 April, 2013 in Art, Fun, Kate and Stephen with 0 Comments

We got a press release saying that the Shakespeare Festival was doing a performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on Tuesday. But should we go? In hopes that it will be helpful to you in making future decisions about your social calendar, here’s how I thought about it:

1) Do I know anything about Twelfth Night?

Answer: No. Not really. This is one of those cocktail party things where you might fudge a bit, pretending to know what the other person is talking about before confessing to yourself, “Man, I really need to learn more about that.” The fact of the matter is, I could tell you the plots to Macbeth and Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet and from there, the details start to get fuzzy. I think I’ve seen a few of comedies, but they blur together.

Illustration: Asolo Repertory Theatre

2) Is the Alabama Shakespeare Festival usually good?

Answer: Yes. Even when it has missed a home run, every show we’ve seen has still been worth going to see. They do a good job. They’re pros. The facilities are amazing. So when the content is a question mark, ASF gets the benefit of the doubt.

3) Do I have ulterior motives?

Answer: Taking a date to the Shakespeare Festival is always a good idea. You’ll look classy and cosmopolitan and have something good to talk about over coffee afterwards. That crappy movie out at The Rave? Not nearly as good of a choice.

4) What’s this about again?

Answer: Look, you’re shelling out $30 each to go and watch a play outdoors. Did I mention that it’s outdoors? Yes. This play is in the garden, which means that you and your date will get to enjoy one of the most timeless plays in the history of human civilization in the beauty of nature. Well, as much nature as you can get in the city limits. Put it this way: The sky will be your ceiling.

You can buy some food and some drink and everybody that goes gets a free piece of cake. Gates open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:30.

The press release says that the play “follows the comic adventures of a shipwrecked young woman, Viola, who uses the twist of fate to change her identity to that of a young man. But when she falls for a handsome duke and the duke’s girlfriend falls for the guy version of Viola, a perfect storm of comical confusion results.”

Hmm. Gender-bending comedy? Could be funny, I guess, but also risky to enjoy the wacky adventures penned by a dude who lived like 400 years ago. Fortunately, the person that I would invite to go with me is someone that always has insightful things to say about gender roles, so even if the play is totally crusty and the jokes all misfire based on stereotypes about “ladies act like this” and “dudes act like this,” it will still totally be awesome fodder for conversation.

5) So will you do it?

I’m lucky enough to be able to drop $60 on entertainment on a weeknight. It’s a serious expense, sure. But it’s also for a good cause. The funds go to help the ASF’s actors do touring programs, which often involves teaching under-served kids in high schools about Shakespeare. And that’s awesome.

There’s nothing else good happening Tuesday night and I really ought to be one of those people that has seen Twelfth Night. Reading it would be great, but I’m probably not going to do that. And everyone knows that Shakespeare really comes alive when you see people acting it out.

And you can’t really complain about missing things when you don’t jump on the opportunities that do come around. This will be one (I think) where people are jealous when you tell them where you were on Tuesday.

It may or may not be hilarious, but it ought to be a beautiful night. And a celebration of how lucky we are to be in Montgomery, where we have the option of seeing world class theater.

Tickets for this special event are $30 for adults and $15 for young people 16 and under. They can be obtained by calling 800.841.4273, visiting on line at or at the ASF Box Office.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a cat, a dog, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.


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