Nashville Celebrates Shakespeare in the Park
There is no more enchanted place to hear Shakespeare than under the stars in an outdoor theatre. In the shadow of the Parthenon, the magical fairy-filled woods in Midsummer Night’s Dream will soon come alive with nymphs and sprites, and lovers’ woes will be mystically resolved.
Shakespeare in the Park, presented by the Nashville Shakespeare Festival in the Centennial Bandshell, brings free theatre to people of all walks of life, sharing the great Bard’s poetic comedies, tragedies and histories of the common life.
A summertime tradition, Shakespeare will return to Centennial Park from Aug. 15-Sept.15, Thursdays through Sundays, and on Labor Day Monday. If you stop by before then, you may find company actors rehearsing, hanging lights, sewing costumes and adding finishing touches to the set.
Come early for the best seating and bring a blanket or lawn chair. Pre-show entertainment begins at 6:30 p.m. and the performance starts at 7:30 p.m. A donation of $10 is suggested and food and drinks will be available for purchase.
Acclaimed by many as the greatest dramatist and poet that ever lived, William Shakespeare grew up in Elizabethan England over 400 years ago at a time when theatre was evolving from wandering minstrels to actors performing in playhouses.
He coined more than 1700 common words and phrases that are still used today. You may be quoting him without even realizing it, with such phrases as ‘in the twinkling of an eye’ (Merchant of Venice), ‘vanish into thin air’ (Othello), and ‘dead as a doornail’ (Henry V). His writing has strongly influenced the development of the English language and modern literature. Shakespeare’s timeless words are spoken and savored around the world by lovers of his poetic literature and audiences who relate to the all-too-human characters.
Cookeville will also be hosting its 10th Annual Dogwood Shakespeare in the Park Oct. 4-12, with the production of As You Like It.
Shakespeare in the Park isn’t the only event that honors the famous writer. Shakespeare Allowed is a program of readings of every play Shakespeare wrote. The first Saturday afternoon of each month at the Nashville downtown Public Library, up to 16 people sit in a circle, reading lines round-robin style while discovering the richness of Shakespeare’s language. Free and open to the public, this program is the realization of a dream of Nashville Shakespeare Festival Director, Denice Hicks.
Shakespeare’s words live on as they are spoken out loud.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” (As You Like It)
(All photos by Jeff Frazier)
Which of Shakespeare’s plays is your favorite?