Perhaps because the winters here tend toward the cold and snowy, this past year being a bit of an exception, we do tend to enjoy our outdoor friendly seasons in a big way. Minneapolis has been ranked one of the top cities for bicycling according to Bicycle magazine for a number of years running. Many neighborhoods host music and movies in the park events, and naturally there is theater in the park – usually Shakespeare, and usually quite cleverly pulled off.
Cromulent Shakepeare Company, who since 1996, has dedicated themselves to “Embiggen the Bard” will be performing Merry Wives of Windsor at several different park locations around the Twin Cities starting June 1. Admission is free.
Shakespeare & Company, who is Minnesota’s longest running outdoor classical repertory theater will also be tackling Merry Wives of Windsor this summer. Performances take place on the campus of Century College, which is about a 30 minute drive from Minneapolis. They are rehearsing for their 37th season as I type this and performances will begin June 30. They will also be performing Tartuffe and Cymbeline through August 5. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and children under 12 are free with a paid adult.
The Strange Capers, who is a relatively new addition to the outdoor Shakespeare party in the Twin Cities is off to a good start. Their first few years have been very well received. This year they are hoping to continue their streak with the wonderful Comedy of Errors, which they are bringing to area parks beginning June 30 and running through July 15. Admission is free.
A few recommendations if it is your first time at a park performance in Minnesota. Most important: bring sunblock (with a mosquito repellant if possible) and plenty of water. Also, bring an umbrella which will be equally handy for shade, if you can’t find a convenient enough tree, and protection from rain. Many of these troupes have similar philosophies to the Postal Service, “Neither Rain, Nor Sleet…” you know the drill, and you will not want to leave once the play is under way. My final recommendation is that you come prepared with some tip money, it doesn’t need to be a lot. You just never know when you might be inspired, or enticed, to tip the performers. It might come after they’ve successfully projected over the sound of an airplane or after that family with the 4 yelling kids and an unruly dog almost walked through the stage. Acting in a park takes a special dedication, and just in case you are so moved, it is good to be prepared.
Now then, I’ve got to run. The weather is nice, and I’ve no time to waste. See you outside! I’ll probably be on my bike.