Archive for September, 2009

“The Comedy of Errors,” SF Shakes

September 17, 2009

I am happy to report that this year SF Shakes has a new sound system. Each person on stage now has their own microphone, which they wear throughout the show. I believe this is the first year they have done that. The sound was improved last year, but at this show it was even better. Shakespeare’s beautiful words can now be heard as they were meant to be heard, with depth, clarity and nuance.

And spoken by a great cast. These people know how to talk the talk. The show was “The Comedy of Errors,” and it was Burning Man Shakespeare, as if the town of Ephesus was actually Black Rock City and everyone was wearing wildly colored wigs and make-up. It actually helped make the play more believable, if that’s possible. You see, the plot is about (among other things) these two sets of twins who were each separated at a young age. Then they all end up in Ephesus, but neither twin knows his identical long, lost brother is town, so there is all this mistaken identify stuff and other confusion. And if it was taking place at Burning Man, and everyone was in some kind of altered state, and running around in the hot sun all day, then that might explain why none of the characters could figure out what is going on.

But we don’t really need this to be plausible, do we? It’s Shakespeare, and we got it performed in a most entertaining way, and when that happens the story becomes real. SF Shakes does it again!  As I said last year, they’re a  local treasure. After the show on the bus home I talked to a couple of tourists from Wales who had made the effort to see the play. Now that’s a vacation. It’s things like SF Shakes that make this City great. I love seeing the Main Post Parade Ground Lawn of the Presidio covered with blankets, and people sitting on them eating, drinking and digging the scene. Lots of them are families, and they bring their kids, and the kids sit there quietly for the whole show. Wow! That speaks volumes about what was happening. SF Shakes is showing the next generation of theatre-goers how wonderful a live play can be, and that is quite an accomplishment. (They also have a touring company which does abridged version of plays at schools and other places – last year I got to see a 50 minute version of “Romeo and Juliet” in the West Portal Library.  It was outstanding.)

I have been doing this blog for almost a year now. In that time the planet has taken a trip around the sun, the seasons have gone through their cycle, SF Shakes has done their annual play and I have gotten to write about it again. I am looking forward to experiencing all these things again in the future. And I have something else to say about the future: The Presidio is where the United Federation of Planets is going to build  Starfleet Academy. Hey,  I like “Star Trek” and Shakespeare! Two years ago I went to London and saw Patrick Stewart, who played the captain of the Starship Enterprise, playing Prospero in The RSC production of “The Tempest.” Anyway, as I looked around at the Presidio between acts of “The Comedy of Errors” I imagined what it would look like centuries from now. And I hoped that when Starfleet Academy is there, that SF Shakes will still be there too. Live long and prosper!

Outside the Novello Theater, London, 2007

Outside the Novello Theater, London, 2007