If you’re ever bored on a night during August and September, a great option is to go see a production of one of William Shakespeare’s plays on the Myriad Gardens Water Stage. These productions are put on by the Oklahoma Shakespeare Company, a theater troupe dedicated to bringing Shakespeare’s plays to life outdoors during the summer months. The company gives these productions the title “Shakespeare in the Park.”
Shakespeare in the Park has been a long-standing summer tradition in many major cities around the country. Throughout each season, several plays are performed. I had the privilege of experiencing the very last performance of Macbeth in Oklahoma City’s 30th season with a few friends on the evening of Sept. 27. Having never read Macbeth in high school, my friends and I were not certain of how the evening would unfold.
“This was a great opportunity to view Shakespeare’s work as it was originally intended to be seen,” sophomore Kelsey Ashlock said. “As students, we are usually exposed to Shakespeare through the reading of the plays and watching the movie adaptations. Seeing it live was more of an intriguing experience.”
For those who are not familiar with Macbeth, it is about a nobleman and his wife who rise to the throne through placing their faith in witches’ prophecies. These prophecies lead the Macbeths to deceive and murder, and these actions eventually lead to their insanity and demise. As usual, this Shakespeare play involves a complex plot.
“This production made it easier to understand what was happening in Shakespeare’s Macbeth even though the language used was confusing,” Ashlock said. “I liked the fact that the actors seemed to really care about the roles they were playing and therefore made it enjoyable to watch.”
Not only were the actors enthusiastic about their respective roles, but they were also skilled at acting. The women who played the role of the witches were particularly convincing as they shrieked, twitched and laughed maniacally to portray mentally deranged people. The actors’ costumes were also tastefully crafted for Shakespeare’s time, but perhaps the best part of the production was the use of the stage.
The Myriad Gardens Water Stage is unique for several reasons. First of all, it is circular and surrounded by water. It is also in an open area, preventing actors and the crew from being directly behind the stage while preparing for the next scene because of the possibility of being seen.
“The company used the area around the stage to their advantage instead of being limited to one area,” Ashlock said. “They got creative with the limited space they had in order to bring the best production to the stage as possible.”
Sadly, the season doesn’t return until June. However, it is well worth the wait.
“I would recommend this to other students,” Ashlock said. “Even if you do not usually enjoy reading Shakespeare, these productions will definitely entertain you.”