When I was leaving New York oh so many years ago, I wanted to treat myself to something special, something truly New Yorkian.
My gift was taking a day out of my busy packing and wrapping up schedule to stand in line for tickets to THE TEMPEST in Central Park, starring Patrick Stewart. A better departing gift I can not imagine.
(Although the water-proof boots from the Franco’s count right up there, as I was moving to Seattle.)
Shakespeare in the Park is a long-standing tradition, marked by standing in long lines. I understand the system has been cleaned up, but in my day the “free” tickets required three lines and a full day’s commitment.
Which translated to picnicking, Frisbee, a strolling puppeteer offering five-minute versions of the play you are to see, and a wide variety of buskers.
All culminating in an outdoor performance, always memorable (Denzel Washington portrayed the best Richard III I’ve ever seen) if not always agreeable (my head still hurts when I think of the drum-pounding, migraine-inducing TITUS ANDRONICUS).
And always pure populist New York.
Which is why I’m still chuckling over this brilliant Onion Satire, announcing the next season of “Soderbergh in the Park.”
From the article, as the artistic director justifies staging one of Soderbergh’s lesser works, OCEAN’S TWELVE:
"The mission of Soderbergh in the Park has always been to bring Soderbergh to the masses," Fletcher said. "And that includes even his more inaccessible material. Those who are skeptical will be pleased to find that many of the traditional Soderberghian themes are present in Ocean's Twelve: anger, betrayal, despair, the travails of cool wealthy people who plan crime capers, and brotherhood."
Just my thoughts,