Last weekend I headed over to New Center Park for an open air performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – and I was totally blown away by how great it was!
It was put on by Shakespeare In Detroit, a non-profit organisation that dedicates itself to making the arts accessible for everyone. The performances are totally free – which is so awesome. They want to reach the widest range of audience members possible, making donations crucial to their survival.
Their efforts seemed to have paid off. I arrived late, and the place was already packed.
Hamlet is a classic – which means most of us have read or seen Hamlet dozens of times. Combine that with the fact that it’s also Shakespeare’s longest play with runtimes sometimes exceeding three hours, it can be a tough job keeping the audience engaged until the end.
These guys pulled it off flawlessly – rumbling engines, squeaking breaks, and blasting stereos be damned!
I was also really impressed with the choice of New Center Park as a venue. During intermission the grill master had fresh barbecue choices ready to go for those of us that had worked up an appetite, and the bar had even created a special cocktail for the evening – The Ophelia. For those curious, it was a mix of white wine, grenadier, and spritzer, and it was absolutely delicious. They’ve got a whole range of free concerts and movie screenings this summer that I’ll make a point to go to.
Their season is sadly over already this summer, but if you want to catch a show there are still plenty of places this summer you can join me at!
Michigan Shakespeare Festival is running Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, and Chekov’s The Seagull through August. Shakespeare Royal Oak is also running Taming of the Shrew along with their own original Shakespeare In Love & War in Jaycee Park. And, of course, Stratford is only a short drive away.
Keep your eyes peeled for next year’s performances though – I cannot wait to see what Shakespeare in Detroit comes up with!