Shakespeare in the Park: Othello

I’ve been looking forward to Shakespeare in the Park this year since my flatmates informed me that there’s such a thing. Since I rarely get the chance to see a Shakespeare production, I thought it was a good idea to do it when I could. I like how the outdoor setting gives off a Just One Day kind of vibe. The Singapore Repertory Theatre’s production for this year is Othello. Take note that I’m not well-versed in Shakespeare’s work so this is by no means a review. I just wanted to talk about my experience to let all of you know how I spent my Saturday evening. We weren’t allowed to take pictures during the play itself so I only have a couple of pictures before and after.

Shakespeare in the Park

Waiting for the play to start

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Here’s the program

We brought food and drinks and sat on mats on the grass. Everyone else did something similar – it was funny how a lot of people brought wine or champagne and they even had their own wine glasses. The casual setting was a good thing because you can move around to get comfortable, which is an advantage when you’re sitting on the ground for several hours. When the play started, I was surprised at the modern attire and stage setting but I liked it once I got used to it. Men were wearing suits instead of robes while the women wore pants. They used guns instead of swords and showed a helicopter instead of a ship.

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Look at that crowd!

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Thank you, sir, for blocking our view.

I was surprised by how many people turned up for the event. I’ve heard that last year’s production of Twelfth Night wasn’t as crowded so it looks like the event has gained popularity. I would have loved to see Twelfth Night or any of Shakespeare’s comedies – I think I’m more suited to them rather than his tragedies. I remember watching A Midsummer’s Night Dream back in Manila a few years ago and I really enjoyed that. Overall, it was quite an interesting experience and one that I wouldn’t mind repeating.

Have you ever seen a Shakespeare play performed on stage? What did you think of it? I know that Shakespeare in the Park is an international thing so feel free to let me know if you’ve experienced this as well.

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8 thoughts on “Shakespeare in the Park: Othello

  1. Columbus, Ohio, where I grew up, has a huge Shakespeare in the Park program, so I am very familiar with that. They usually do a couple of Shakespeare plays and a couple of other plays every season. That’s one of the things I really miss about Columbus–it was lots of fun, and a great way to introduce kids to Shakespeare–because you can get up and move around, etc. Between that and my Shakespeare class in London, I’ve seen quite a few of the plays performed! And I think it’s really special to see them actually acted, instead of just read on the page.

    • Several plays every season? They only do one every YEAR here in Singapore. That makes me kind of sad. Hopefully that will change soon given the turnout in this year’s production. You know it’s funny but I didn’t see any kids there last Saturday, I think they’d find it quite boring? I saw some people sleeping on their blankets. And it’s not that easy to get up and move around because it’s so packed. Maybe if there was more space. Shakespeare is definitely better performed than just read on paper.

  2. I would’ve loved to go to this! This kind of outdoor Shakespeare thing seems to only happen in movies and in books. Or maybe I am just not paying enough attention. I agree about the excitement of seeing one of his comedies instead. I would’ve loved to see The Twelfth Night as well. I love how well attended this seems to have been. It makes me happy that there are that many people out there who would spend their afternoon/evening watching a play on the grass:)

    • You should totally do it, Flann! I think there would be more Shakespeare performances in Seattle than in Singapore. How about checking out the Seattle Shakespeare Company? http://www.seattleshakespeare.org/woodeno/ I really hope next year’s production will involve a comedy, and that I will still be here to see it. πŸ™‚ I think musicals and plays are gaining popularity in Singapore – probably also because there are so many foreigners here who enjoy that kind of thing. Earlier this year, I watched Jersey Boys and then in July, I’m watching Phantom of the Opera. They had Lion King and Wicked before I moved here! Hope they bring those back.

  3. I’m sincerely hoping I get the opportunity to go to Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park this year! It sounds like it’s going to be a blast, and if it’s anywhere near as awesome as your experience, it should be fun. I think the concept is truly interesting, and I can’t wait to see Shakespeare performed live!

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