Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Sunday, August 12th, 2007 | All Things, Arts

In a city of 8 million people, crowds are inevitable. I don’t know how many years of her life the average New Yorker spends waiting on line, but I suspect that the figure is easily doubled for avid devotees of Shakespeare in the Park.

Of all the Bard’s works, A Midsummer Night’s Dream‘s forest setting is probably the one best suited to the al fresco treatment at the Delacorte. The comedy was last staged in Central Park the summer of 1991 in a production best remembered for its intermittently nude actors.

Lines of people everywhere! Into the park…

Midsummer Nights Dream

…waiting for stand-by tickets…

Midsummer Nights Standby

…even to the ladies restroom:

Midsummer Nights Ladies Room

SYB’s six hours of waiting scored us seats in the third row, off center, from which we could catch each sleight of hand trick and every mischievous eye twinkle on the stage. SYB’s “line friend” from Romeo and Juliet — we just happened to run into him while entering the theater — didn’t fare quite as well. On the other hand, he did make it into the performance, and (we noticed) was still accompanied by the young woman with whom he had his first date that night back in early June. Awww... Summer of Love indeed.

Tonight’s cast was solid throughout: Keith David (a stage and screen actor whose voice I recognized from the Navy recruitment commercials) cut an imperious figure as Oberon, King of the Fairies. Jay O. Sanders killed as Nick Bottom — as did the rest of the “rude mechanicals”: Tim Blake Nelson as Peter Quince; Ken Cheeseman as Robin Starveline; Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Richie on CBS’s The Class) as Francis Flute; Jason Antoon as Tom Snout; and Keith Randolph Smith as Snug.

Among the confused lovers, Martha Plimpton, recent Tony-nominee and the evening’s highest profile star, was a standout as the cranky, much-abused Helena. I’ve always thought Plimpton was a pretty cool and interesting actress, not just because she was in The Goonies, or because she (too) hates Duane Reade (“I’d rather have a drunk Mr. Gower filling my prescriptions” — ha!), but then she completely won me over with this exchange from a recent New York interview:

What makes someone a New Yorker?
At this point? Having a Duane Reade Club Card. That, and knowing what this means: “Pix! Pix! Pix! Pix! Pix! Pix! Pix! Pix! Pix! Pix!” Winner receives two lamb chops and some buttered egg noodles under a big buck at my house.

Hey, Martha: I know! I know!

Backtracking… more fun in the Park.

There are 3 Comments ... Lord, what fools these mortals be!

August 24, 2007

What does “Pix! Pix! Pix!” mean?

August 24, 2007

Anyone? Anyone?

August 27, 2007

Hmm, maybe it’s a mystery. Julio? Marisol?

Go for it ...