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reading: a midsummer night's dream

I am reading this:

because in two weeks I get to go here:

and see the play live at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, a Tony-award winning theater company located in my very own hometown of Cedar City, Utah. (Also, if you are a fan of the show Modern Family, click here and look at the picture on the right. Guess who was Oberon in a previous production of MIDSUMMER? My sister alerted me to this particular piece of fantasticness.)

I love, love, love the Festival. I used to work summers at the gift shop(pe). My grandfather was the president at the college at the Festival’s inception. The longtime director, Fred Adams, was in my ward (church congregation) growing up and has come out of retirement to direct this play, which by all accounts is just gorgeous. He is a wonderful, gregarious artist.

When I was little, we used to go to the free greenshow before the play and watch the performers sing and dance. I remember being delighted when my dad was called out of the audience to play the handsome prince in one of the little plays in the greenshow. He was mortified but went along with it. (If you know my dad, you have an idea of how excruciating this kind of thing would have been for him.) I remember my parents buying me lemon tarts from the ladies who carried them in baskets wrapper in clean white linen.

When I was a little older, my grandmother started taking me to a play each summer. She was an usher at the Festival for many years and I thought her blue and gold Shakespearean gown was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. She would let me look over the list of the plays that were happening that season and choose which one I’d like to see. Then she’d read through the play with me before we went so that I knew what was happening. I simply cannot think of anything more gorgeous than going to Shakespeare on a summer evening in red rock country. It’s been years since I’ve had the chance and I can’t wait. (Many thanks to my good friend Krista Bulloch for making it all happen and organizing the tickets, etc.!)

My favorite Shakespeare play to teach is MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. My favorite to read might be KING LEAR, and I’m not entirely sure why. It just feels so atmospheric and depressing. Which, apparently, I like.

I also have a soft spot for CYMBELINE, which was the first play my grandmother took me to see. The costumes were so beautiful and I was up so late, with the night peeking in above us in the open-air theater.

I wish my grandmother could come with us. She’s almost ninety-five now and not quite up to a play. But she is the one who first took me to the theater on a summer night so I could watch as dreams and stories came to life under the stars.

+ comments (20)
  • SPBowers
    July 28, 2011

    Beautiful. I’ve always wanted to go to the Utah Shakespearean Festival.

  • Ilima
    July 28, 2011

    We took our family to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream there just last weekend. It was glorious. It was our first time and we plan to go every year now. We loved the green show and eating the pies/tarts/pastries. It was wonderful-have a great time.

  • Shallee McArthur
    July 28, 2011

    Ooh, it sounds amazing! I live in Utah, but sadly have never been to the festival. I’ve had so many friends go, and it’s on my bucket list to make it down there. Probably not this year, but hopefully within the next five!

    I hope you make some more wonderful memories this year. Have fun!

  • Allison R.
    July 28, 2011

    Being friends with Krista’s family afforded me the opportunity to go each summer. I LOVED it. I always wanted to be one of the tart selling women, but I was better at the child care. What a great tradition your grandmother started. Maybe I can do that with my girls.

  • Jake Corry
    July 28, 2011

    We went to the greenshow the other night with the kids. The tarts are still good. They’ve officially changed the name from Utah Shakespearean festival to Utah Shakespeare Festival. Melissa thinks it has something to do with merchandising rights and the bookstore, but I don’t know.

    • ally
      August 1, 2011

      Thanks for letting me know! I’ve fixed the name change. I don’t know why but it sounds strange to me…old habits die hard.

    • Melissa Corry
      August 3, 2011

      Amen to that.

  • becca
    July 28, 2011

    That is a great piece. And I adore, adore Much Ado… but I love me some Midsummer love triangles, too. And I sort of want to go give your grandma a hug and read to her while you are at your play. Enjoy, will you?

  • Jessi
    July 28, 2011

    I didn’t realize you were from Cedar City! I adore your hometown. My husband and I were there two weeks ago for the Shakespeare festival and the temperature was such a nice change from the Vegas heat. We didn’t get to see Midsummer, but Noises Off! was a riot and Romeo and Juliet was magical. I love watching plays at the Globe replica theater under the stars.
    I hope you enjoy the play when you go.

  • alisonwonderland
    July 29, 2011

    Loved this post! We’ll be at the Festival in two weeks too. We’ve been going every year for 13 years. It’s something I look forward to all year long.

  • Christine
    July 29, 2011

    While serving as a sister missionary in Enoch, my companion and I got to attend the festival on special permission from our prez. It was the 4th of July and my birthday at the same time XD Fantastic memory. I love this place.

  • Margie
    July 29, 2011

    My husband and I saw Midsummer Night’s Dream at the USF 12 years ago for our 20th wedding anniversary. We loved it so much that we went back later that summer and took our teenagers to see it. (Four hour drive, matinee and four hours home). We haven’t missed a year since then and this summer we saw Midsummer Night’s Dream for the third time and once again enjoyed it. What is great is that it is different every time. Every director brings his own touch to the show. We just bought tickets for next year, so we are all set. I am sure you will have a great time when you go.

  • Katie
    July 29, 2011

    Oh, that looks so fun! I’ve been a big fan of Shakespeare since I was 11 and I inhaled all of his plays. A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream has become one of my favorites. 🙂

    July 29, 2011

    I grew up about an hour away from Cedar City and used to go to plays every summer too. I loved Midsummer’s Night Dream but my favorite was probably The Twelfth Knight. Ooh…or Cyrano de Burgerac, which of course isn’t Shakespeare but is still so funny!
    Hope you enjoy your festival time!

  • Stefanie Hathaway
    July 29, 2011

    I just finished Matched and LOVED IT! The story, the concept, the way words became art- i loved all of it. I only learned about this book 4 days ago and now its over. I don’t think I can wait until November for Crossed, so if you find you need a reader review a bit early, I’m your first taker!

  • Melissa Corry
    July 31, 2011

    I worked for the Shakespeare Festival the year that put that version of Midsummer on with Ty Burrell playing Oberon. I seem to remember that when they did the photo shoot the hair on the back side of Oberon’s and Puck’s costumes had not quite been finished 🙂 It made for quite a few laughs, some interesting comments, and a little more work on Karl Hugh’s part to make sure the angles of the photo’ s didn’t show more than they should 🙂

  • Courtney
    August 1, 2011

    Ahaha, Phil~ I love it x)

  • ldsjaneite
    August 1, 2011

    I’m jealous. I would love to go the Shakespearean Festival. Now that I live in UT, I must try to get away from work to do so.

  • Deirdra Eden Coppel
    August 5, 2011

    You have a fabulous blog! I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: Powerful Woman Writer Award for all the hard work you do!

    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.

  • CamilleGriffiths
    August 6, 2011

    I live in Cedar City and love going to the plays. Haven’t been to one in a while, a long while, but reading your post makes me want to go. Just a little funny tidbit, I was raving about your must read book just the other night to my sister-in-law and i told her that you happened to be from Utah… She replied with yah, I went to school with her. What a small world!

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