While I’m not the most cultured person out there, I do enjoy the arts. So when my husband suggested that we go to Toronto’s High Park to see a Shakespeare play, I jumped at the opportunity to share the experience with my family.
Shakespeare in High Park has been around for years but I had never been before. I came close once, but I didn’t get there early enough to reserve a spot on the hill facing the stage. Today, the outdoor amphitheatre has been landscaped into grassy terraced seating, eliminating the hill hogging of yesteryear. The producers, Canadian Stage, are much more organized and high tech now, and we were able to reserve cushion seats in the premium zone in advance by buying tickets online for $25/adult. This guaranteed us seats somewhere in the first four rows of the High Park Amphitheatre. Even though the seating is still first come, first served, it made me feel special to be escorted in and shown my “spot”.
Every year, two plays are put on. I chose the comedy “The Taming of the Shrew” over “Macbeth” because I thought that the bloody tragedy might be a bit too scary for my little ones, aged 7 and 3. However, I didn’t realize that the play would be different from the original. In this updated version, the gender and sexual orientation of the male character Lucentio was changed. I was rather relieved that neither child asked me why there were two ladies on stage kissing each other passionately and getting married. I guess seeing the six o’clock news during Pride Week helped.
Overall, the play was amusing and entertaining. I highly recommend this play to those who enjoy live productions, as well as those who have not had a lot of exposure to theatre. The length of the show was 90 minutes with no intermission but my kids managed to stay awake and sit through it without fidgeting. I think I wiggled around more than they did. Next time I will be bringing a bigger cushion! The cost to watch Shakespeare in High Park varies because you “Pay What You Can”, with a suggested donation of $20 per person. It was well worth the price of admission! Many people brought wicker picnic baskets filled with food and sparkling water (alcohol is not allowed). It’s a pretty cheap date night and fun for the entire family. I know I’m lucky to have access to these events because we live in the Greater Toronto Area, but most cities have community theatre and fringe festivals that allow access to affordable live theatre. Supporting local actors while teaching your children to appreciate the arts is a cheap win-win situation!