Shakespeare By The Sea

Okay. Despite my hatred of summer, there are quite a few things that I enjoy about it; one of them being Shakespeare By the Sea!  The past two Friday nights I've gone to Point Fermin Park in my hometown of San Pedro to catch the opening weekends of their selections this year, Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth. 

The Los Angeles version of Shakespeare in the Park is always an event, and this year is no exception. I'm always struck by the simplicity of the sets, and how with just few flats and amazing acting the company is able to transport you to a completely different world; Italy in Taming of the Shrew and the Scottish moors in Macbeth. The acting is phenomenal. I have to give particular kudos to Morgan Hill, who plays Kate and Witch #1, Bryson Jones Allman (Petrucchio and Macduff), and Olivia Schlueter-Corey who bends gender in her turns as both Banquo and Tranio. All three are impossible to take your eyes off of. Morgan and Bryson are perfection playing off of each other as Kate and Petrucchio. Morgan really shines as a witch, though. She's both creepy and captivating. I felt like I was taking a master class just watching her. Bryson's grief as Macduff? I cried. I cry at everything, BUT STILL. I had chills, and not just because the temperature had dropped down to the 50s out by the ocean bluffs of Point Fermin. And Olivio as Tranio? I totally forgot Tranio is originally a man in Taming of the Shrew. She sells it. As someone who once gender bent and played Bottom, I'm all about women taking traditionally male roles in Shakespeare (even though all roles were traditionally male, but whatever). 

If you're unfamiliar with the stories, don't be worried. Even though I'm a Shakespeare buff (I majored in theater and took at least 4 classes on the bard), the Shakespeare by the Sea performances are acted in such a way that anyone can follow along; there were even kids at the performances I went to who were enjoying them. Jordan notes on both plots: Taming by the Shrew is about a girl like me who can't get married and by extension her younger sister can't until she meets her match. Watch 10 Things I Hate About You, it's the same story. Macbeth? His wife convinces him to do a really grimy thing, then that have to do more grimy stuff to cover up the first grimy thing. 

Check out where SbtS will be this summer! I promise it's worth it. Just remember to pack a picnic and bundle up; these summer nights in LA get pretty cool by the water.

Until next time.




Shakespeare by the Sea

I went to a production of The Tempest put on by Shakespeare By the Sea last night, and I really wish I had done it earlier in the season to tell ya’ll about it, because it was so dope! Shakespeare By The Sea ( is a non-profit that puts on free Shakespeare productions all over Los Angeles County and Orange County during the summer. I’ve been going with my mom since I was a kid. It’s been a while since I went to a performance, and I decided to go last night, because I love The Tempest.

The Tempest is my second favorite by the bard, only after A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a comedy, so you don’t have to worry about your favorite characters dying. So, basically, this dude named Prospero should be the Duke of Milan, but his a-hole brother, Antonio, and the king, Alonzo, decide that they’re not having it and they strand Prospero and his daughter, Miranda on an island. Prospero and Miranda only have the water sprite, Ariel, and a half-human half-something monster, Calaban to keep them company. Prospero is pissed, so he has Ariel conjure a storm and shipwreck Antonio, Alonzo, Alonzo’s son and heir to the throne Ferdinand, and some other randoms on the island in order to get his revenge. Of course the plot can’t be that simple, and Calaban wants to kill Prospero, and two guys who got shipwrecked want to kill Alonzo, and Miranda and Ferdinand fall in love (which was part of Prospero’s plan, but still pisses him off for some reason). I’m not gonna give away the ending, but trust me, it’s a fun ride.

SBTS’s production was AMAZING. They worked a minimal set, the costumes were gorgeous and sparkly, and the acting was TOP NOTCH. They gender bent Alonzo to Queen Alonza, which made me so happy, because Shakespeare is always light on the female representation. The actress playing Alonza had a serious set of pipes and a magical timbre, too. Their depiction of Ariel was brilliant and utilized multiple actors working together. The Calaban was hilarious. I literally was sitting on the edge of my seat during the first act. It was THAT GOOD.

Sadly, this post comes way too late, because last night was closing night. However, because of the great time I had tonight, I’m certain I’ll be catching whatever they do next summer. You should too!