Saturday, June 24, 2006

A picnic and the Bard

I'm getting into the picnic groove this warm season. After not really ever going on many picnics at all, I've managed to enjoy two in the past month. Tonight, it was A.'s wonderful suggestion and preparation that found us dining on ricotta quiche from Whole Foods, seasoned rice, salad with strawberries and Goddess Dressing, raspberries, and pastries from Financier Patisserie, which I'd toted all the way from the opposite end of the island on the over-AC'd subway, which in this case was a good thing, as it prevented the treats from totally sagging in the heat. (And how much do I love the name Financier? It's near Wall Street and it's the name of a French pastry.) Oh, and wine! Red wine. A very nice bottle of cabernet with a penguin on the front. Waddle, waddle. Must reach mating site. Waddle, waddle. Must reach open water. Sorry, couldn't resist. Said picnic occurred on the Inwood Hill Park peninsula, where we enjoyed a free production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, performed by the Moose Hall Theatre Company, which has a logo as silly as you'd imagine it to be. The rain held off for most of the show, and the brave actors stuck it out even after the audience, stretched out on the lawn as we were, opened our umbrellas two-thirds of the way in. Luckily, the rain subsided and they were able to close the show under clear skies. It was a pretty respectable performance, all things considered. Once again, it's free and outside, so you try to ignore the boats and trains tootling along in the distance and the occasionally jumpy sound system.

Anyway, here are some great lines from the play: "Everyone can master a grief but he that has it." "He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." "Speak low if you speak love." "Friendship is constant in all other things / Save in the office and affairs of love: / Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues; / Let every eye negotiate for itself / And trust no agent." "Is most tolerable, and not to be endured." "O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do, not knowing what they do!" "The idea of her life shall sweetly creep / Into his study of imagination, / And every lovely organ of her life, / Shall come apparell’d in more precious habit, / More moving-delicate and full of life / Into the eye and prospect of his soul." "Condemned into everlasting redemption." And one of my favorite bits of wordplay, toward the end, after Beatrice and Benedick's secret letters to each other have been made public: "Here's our own hands against our hearts."

I was also reminded tonight of how in both Ado and Romeo & Juliet it is a friar who recommends faking death to achieve a union. In one play, it works, and in the other, it doesn't, thereby separating the comedy from the tragedy.

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