Tonight was the opening night for the 54th season of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. The C. Douglas Ramey stage was set for a Midsummer’s Night Dream, but the atmosphere was a dream come true. Ten months ago Producing Artistic Director, Matt Wallace stepped in with a vision for a true festival and an expanded summer season. Matt has been in the wings directing elsewhere, waiting for his opportunity to direct back home in the park.
The benches were filled with an eclectic audience. There were business men straight from the office with a loosened tie relaxing with a Brown-Forman cocktail and over at the picnic tables a beautiful young earthy girl and a boyfriend who had plenty of piercings. A group of students gather on the back row ready to fulfill their extra credit requirements. The Louisville Food Truck Association is the star with a hot dog truck and a truck with desserts; or perhaps you bring your own picnic.
The spirit of William Shakespeare no doubt danced in perfect step to the pre-show roaming musicians. With the audience transported back 400 years, the actors took the stage and completed the journey to the mischief-filled night in the forest with Puck and his friends.
To celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday there will be 55 more nights in Central Park through August 17th – A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Henry V, and Hamlet. The Globe Players (youth) will round out the festival with Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Come to the park this summer and see where you will end up. Don’t think you can understand what’s going on? Ah, this is the magic of the theater – you will understand the story if not all of the words. Just go, and let your self be drawn into the action and expressions on the stage. You will leave the evening a changed person; possibly looking at love and life a little differently.
See you in the park,