Monday, July 26, 2010

Tired of dinner and a movie? Try the Shakespeare Festival

Did you know that Boise Idaho has a fantastic Shakespeare Company?  Yes, we do.  This nationally recognized theater company draws the most outstanding actors in the region and even some as far as Ohio.  Indeed, the folks at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival have been voted the best performing arts group by the Idaho Statesman this year and in many years past.  (They've been doing this since 1977).  Their mission is to "produce great theater, entertain, and educate" (   I am thrilled that we have such amazing talent right here in Idaho giving of their time and talents to entertain and educate our community.  I know that we are better because of the arts.  And if I had loads of money I would donate to their cause, but alas, I am poor......

In high school I recall going to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival on a field trip.  From what I can remember it was very hot outside and my classmates wouldn't stop talking.  I hardly heard a word.  Although my first outing wasn't ideal,  the Idaho Shakespeare Festival  planted in me a love for the outdoor theater and I vowed to go back.  So why have I not been back?  I was an English major for crying out loud.  I took a class all about Shakespeare and it was one of my favorites.  I guess because seeing a production instead of a movie is a little on the pricey side and we've never had a lot of money.  

Imagine my delight when my friend, Emi, who was visiting from Hawaii, invited me to see A Midsummer's Nights Dream with her on July 10th.    It was a warm Thursday evening and the show started at 8:00 pm.  We had seats on the hillside ($23.00 ea) and arrived a bit early (7:00) to get a good spot on the lawn.  We brought our own lawn chairs (which are acceptable, no higher than 6 inches off the ground is okay) and found a great place in the front of the back. 

After we saved our seats we went over to Cafe Shakespeare and ordered gourmet boxed dinners.  Let me tell you we were not disappointed.  The menu was superb (we had a hard time deciding what to get) and the food we ordered was delicious.  Emi drooled over her sandwich and I devoured my chicken-summer-corn-and-cilantro salad with the lime-cilantro vinaigrette.  Yummy.  See a pdf of the menu here.  

The Greenshow started at 7:30 and was put on by the Fools Squad (a couple of guys that told a lot of jokes).  Personally I didn't think it was that funny but my daughter has often told me that I "have no sense of humor" so maybe I'm not the one to judge.  The show began at 8 :00 and it was fabulous.  Being in a landscaped amphitheater is a unique experience.  Especially one in the Barber Park Reserve.  You can hear the sounds of nature, see Eagles fly over head, and even see little creatures make an appearance in front of the stage like we did.  The actors didn't skip a beat when suddenly a skunk scurried over to the stage before hurrying on its way.  Some members of the audience held up blankets to ward off a possible skunk spray.  I personally don't think the blanket would have done much good, but I guess it's instinctive to want to protect yourself.  Not only did we spy birds and creatures, we also saw and felt many mosquitoes.  I think we got at least five bites after the sun went down and the bugs came out.  The temperature also cooled down so we were glad we had brought our jackets.  The show ended around 11 pm to a standing ovation.  The actors were simply superb.  After the show was over it took us about 15 minutes to get our car out of the parking lot.  I would suggest going to the bathroom if you need to before getting in your car.  I also suggest parking as far away from the theater as possible to avoid the traffic jam.  Overall a fantastic experience worth every penny.  Thank you Emi!
****Four out of four stars
Things you should know.  
You can bring your own food!  Lots of people do it.  
Even if it's hot outside make sure and bring a jacket and maybe a blanket for your legs because after the sun goes down it's going to cool way down.  
Bring bug spray.  Those mosquitoes were fierce.
Be an hour early.  
If you are sitting hillside or on the lawn you can bring your own lawn chair.  Or blanket if you prefer.
Park far away from the entrance to avoid the traffic jam afterwards.
Try the food at Cafe Shakespeare.  It's so good.  
Family Nights are on Sunday evenings.  The show begins at 7pm rather than 8 pm and young children are welcome.  
If you have a group of ten or more you can get a discount on admission tickets.
They have other plays besides Shakespeare.  Click here to check out their lineup.  
The season runs through September 26, 2010.
They offer summer acting camps for kids.
Get your tickets from their website box office.  
If you need more information you may call (208) 336-9221 or check out their FAQs.  

How to get there.  Don't get lost like we did.  

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival Amphitheater & Reserve is located at 5657 Warm Springs Avenue. Following I-84, take the Highway 21 exit (same as the Micron/Gowen Field exit) and proceed toward Idaho City. Once you cross the bridge at the Boise River, take an immediate left onto Warm Springs Avenue, heading west. The theater is two miles on the left behind the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation offices. - OR –
Take the Connector into downtown Boise, staying on Myrtle Street and Parkcenter Boulevard. After approximately six miles, you’ll see the Amphitheater on the right, behind the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation office building.

1 comment:

neubyem said...

let me reaffirm: BUG SPRAY IS KEY! those mosquitoes were on a rampage