It all started with Richard III for me. I was mesmerized. My expectations for the show weren’t very high because it’s English-language theater in Jerusalem. It’s not like we have Broadway-caliber actors living here with nothing to do in August. But then there he was. It was as if there was a light shining on King Richard and nobody else in the play mattered.
I think the vernacular here is: Squee! Fangirling!
Anyway, I haven’t seen that guy in any other play, but I think I’ve seen him around town and there’s a part of me that wants to point and scream “Richard III!!!” Thankfully, I’m able to stop myself in time.
So every August, I go back to the park to see whatever Shakespeare play is on hoping for the same experience.
Sometimes it’s a hit. Sometimes it’s a miss. This year Hamlet was a hit (I mean, it’s no Richard III, but it was good).
It’s a uniquely Jerusalem experience, I think. The majority of the audience tends to be religious Anglos (by which I mean any variety of English-speaker). Lots of kippas, lots of covered hair, many children, lots of older people. But you also get teens (of many language groups) looking for free entertainment.* Sometimes the audience is great; sometimes the audience leaves a lot to be desired.
I sat down first, but this lady decided that she needed to be closer and block my view.
On the plus side, we get up and move around the park, so at the next stop, you know already who to avoid.
I have to admire the guy playing Hamlet. It’s beyond theater-in-the-round; he has to act unselfconsciously crazy in the middle of the audience.
The featured players are always a lot of fun!
This year, I got a very good performance and a good audience (mostly), and I finished up the evening at my favorite restaurant.
*Free, with a suggested donation. I always buy a T-shirt because I like to support community theater. http://theaterintherough.co.il/