Grab a blanket and a friend and head for Forest Park. It’s June and time to gather for the annual Shakespeare Festival. This is one of the city’s true summer treats. The free performance now underway is The Winter’s Tale, a tragic story, but one with several comic situations.
Our group of 7 attended Friday night. I no longer take a blanket, a food basket, and a wine bottle and sit on the ground. I now require a chair with a cushion to see me through the evening. I’ve learned, too, that I should take a light wrap even though the early evening temperature might start out at 80 degrees.
Picnic in the Park
This year my foodie friends got several carry-out dishes from Southern Restaurant for a pre-show dinner. We arrived early enough to snag a picnic table and spread a meal that would have made my mother proud: fried chicken, slaw, collard greens, pickled beets, roasted cauliflower and fruit.
By show time, the hillside near SLAM was covered with fans of the English bard. As usual, they were not disappointed with the 17th annual showing of the outdoor theater.
Shakespeare’s Pie Recipe
As a food blogger, I was delighted to see that the Bard threw in a recipe of the time. In Act IV, the clown preparing for the sheep shearing feast says, “I must have saffron to colour the warden pies.” He then reels off a list of spices—nutmeg, mace, and ginger—needed for seasoning the pie. The recipe is lost on us today, who are unfamiliar with the rock-hard, warden pear, that had to be cooked before it could be eaten. But it suited cooks of the 16th century, lasting well enough that it was carried by armies during winter campaigns.
This year the show runs nightly (except Tuesdays), from June 2-25, starting at 8 pm. The staging and sound system are superb, and the acting second to none. The Green Show begins at 6:30 p.m. and features local entertainers and roving performers throughout the glen. Next year will see a production of Romeo and Juliet.