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Exit, pursued by a rainstorm. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Exit, pursued by a rainstorm.
We've needed rain around here.  It took packing up the trunk and driving to Delaware Park to get it to show up.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park is in its 41st season. I probably go back to seeing it for the first time during its seventh, my first summer here. Same artistic director, same perfect spot behind the Albright-Knox. New stage this year, and a revival of their first-ever performance, of A Winter's Tale. 

I'd forgotten how difficult a work it is- brimming with misogny, in the bombastic person of the King of Sicilia, who suspects a fellow King of boinking his wife, orders him killed, fails, then orders his newborn daughter to be burned and, on reconsideration, banished from the realm, a task assigned to Bad King's minion Antigonus, which gives rise to the most famous line from the text, one not actually spoken:


Come, poor babe:

 I have heard, but not believed,
 the spirits o' the dead
 May walk again: if such thing be, thy mother
 Appear'd to me last night, for ne'er was dream
 So like a waking. To me comes a creature,
 Sometimes her head on one side, some another; 
 I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
 So fill'd and so becoming: in pure white robes,
 Like very sanctity, she did approach
 My cabin where I lay; thrice bow'd before me,
 And gasping to begin some speech, her eyes 
 Became two spouts: the fury spent, anon
 Did this break-from her: 'Good Antigonus,
 Since fate, against thy better disposition,
 Hath made thy person for the thrower-out
 Of my poor babe, according to thine oath, 
 Places remote enough are in Bohemia,
 There weep and leave it crying; and, for the babe
 Is counted lost for ever, Perdita,
 I prithee, call't. For this ungentle business
 Put on thee by my lord, thou ne'er shalt see 
 Thy wife Paulina more.' And so, with shrieks
 She melted into air. Affrighted much,
 I did in time collect myself and thought
 This was so and no slumber. Dreams are toys:
 Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,
 I will be squared by this. I do believe
 Hermione hath suffer'd death, and that
 Apollo would, this being indeed the issue
 Of King Polixenes, it should here be laid,
 Either for life or death, upon the earth
 Of its right father. Blossom, speed thee well!
 There lie, and there thy character: there these;
 Which may, if fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
 And still rest thine. The storm begins; poor wretch,
 That for thy mother's fault art thus exposed 
 To loss and what may follow! Weep I cannot,
 But my heart bleeds; and most accursed am I
 To be by oath enjoin'd to this. Farewell!
 The day frowns more and more: thou'rt like to have
 A lullaby too rough: I never saw 
 The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!

 Well may I get aboard! This is the chase:
 I am gone for ever.
[Exit, pursued by a bear]

That's become the pop-culture tag for this play.  The merch stand atop Shakespeare Hill features it as the obligatory Clever Line On The T-Shirt.  And it became an integral part of the Cornetto Trilogy, as well as my own vocabulary, in this scene from The World's End:

It was only fitting, then, that an hour or so into the production, we all had to Boo-Boo:(


SDP is one of those things we always say we want to do every summer but usually don't. This weekend seemed the right time: the play, lesser known and then perhaps lesser crowded; the female lead is someone we've known from church since the summer we moved here; and hey, the weather's been so sunny and dry all summer, so it ain't gonna get rained out!

We'll get back to THAT bit. Also, a longtime gym friend of mine also posted that she wanted to go tonight; she always struck me as a kindred spirit to Eleanor, so we eventually decided to pick her up and head over together.

Earlier in the day, Eleanor had been practically daring the skies to open.  We have a remote boombox-ish "base station" that connects to computers and smartphones through either cables (tricky) or Bluetooth (better); most nights eating outside on the patio, it's been my iPhone powering the tuneage. A few weeks ago, she'd asked me about Bluetooth updates she was getting on her PC; they turned out to be surplus, as her hardware didn't include any such capability.  But then I discovered it could be added through a teeny USB thumbdrive of an adapter- and, unlike my failed attempt at rigging Blu-Ray onto my computer, I checked with the manufacturer and was assured that it would not require any additional purchases of software.  Seventeen bucks and a week or so later, it arrived in this morning's mail- and, true to their word, it didn't need anything extra.  Eleanor was gleefully playing Mary Fahl songs through the base station as she sat at the backyard patio table this afternoon, even as the sky was turning grey-to-black and showing every sign of starting to pour.

It never did.  She, Ann and I decided it was a go- and it was, through getting there unfashionably early, setting up our chairs, and watching right through until two scenes before the appearance of Boo-Boo.  THAT's when we got our rain; quick and pelting, enough for the stage manager to call time on the performance with haste.

(No argument from the cheap seats.  This summer's performers were in early 20th-century business dress, including almost all of the women including our church friend in heels, and the stage remains wooden and slick and there was enough injury and potential death in the script itself without risking the real thing.)

They chose this as an early intermission, and the actors proceeded up the Hill, as they have in each of the 40 summers previous, to pass their purses to support their incredibly worthy cause. I got a hug from Hermione as I gave her my wallet's all- and soon after, the greyest of the clouds appeared to be moving on, and thus the action returned to Sicilia and her rather rigged trial....

Which ended in a mist-trial, if you will, as the drizzle returned, then escalated, and right after my two companions agreed it was time for us to Boo-Boo, the stage manager called off the remainder of the evening.

We're all invited back between tomorrow and a week from Sunday, when this half of the schedule closes.  We may instead rendezvous for Taming of the Shrew, which is the second-half performance.  Plenty of bared claws, but no bears.
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