Last night was my first play of the season at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival ("Shakespeare and Others Under the Stars"), celebrating its 30th season. Its my 17th summer as a season ticket holder, but the first production I attended was in the Festival’s third season; I went with Daughter #2 who was 8 years old at the time, and we were both hooked. The plays were produced in three "borrowed" locations in the Festival’s first 21 years. They moved into their own wonderful amphitheater 9 years ago (note the foothills as a backdrop).
I and my Shakespeare going friends like to sit on the lawn, center section, three or four rows back from the stage. We have our low-riding, low-backed chairs and our picnic dinners. I take along a blanket and a sweatshirt as it can get very cool by the river after the sun sets. I definitely didn’t need either last night. It was hot and sultry when we arrived at the theater. When I was driving home at 10:30, it was still 81 degrees. We don’t do sultry well around here. Our normal humidity is about 15% in the summer.
The Festival has a wonderful repertoire of plays by both Shakespeare and "others." They do the most plays in repertory than any other festival, I’ve been told. This year, as it turns out, I will only see one of the Shakespeare plays, Love’s Labor’s Lost. Last night I saw the musical comedy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. This was a repeat from last summer’s repertoire (they always bring back the smash hit from the previous summer to open in June). It was just as funny last night as last year. Next month, George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara is in store for me.
If you’re ever in Boise in the summer, treat yourself to a visit to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. You won’t regret it. And if you can’t come here, find your local group of thespians and support their productions.