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Everyone's a Critic

The Observer's culture blog

Friday, June 12, 2009

SHAKESPEARE IN THE ARB, by Sally Mitani

You might be doing a disservice to your kids to bring them to Twelfth Night, this years' Shakespeare in the Arb. They might grow up thinking Shakespeare is always this much fun and will be in for some crushing disappointment later in life when they learn that fusty, pretentious Shakespeare is the more common variety.

But people do bring their kids. They bring dogs, food, blankets, chairs. One enterprising pair of middle-aged women brought an elaborate multicourse picnic supper to eat in the peony garden before the play started, complete with a bottle of wine. "Did they let you bring that in here," someone asked? They smiled sweetly: "They didn't say no, and we didn't ask."

The cast is young and rambunctious. The Arb is not just any outdoor theatre- characters make dramatic entrances running over hills backlit by sunset, or dropping from trees. With musicians guiding the way, he play moves from site to site, which gives everyone a chance to stretch their legs. (And they mean it when they say "mobility assistance can be provided." I wanted to commandeer one of those golf carts by the end the evening.)

Twelfth Night is an improbable double love story, with several wickedly funny secondary stories. At the end, couples kiss and everyone goes "Awww!"

The production runs Thursdays through Sundays for the rest of June except for weather cancellations, which are posted on the Arb website, www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg


posted by Sally Mitani at 11:35 p.m. | 0 comments


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