While These Visions Did Appear…*


By: Beth von Behren on May 15, 2012 Print This Post

Do you love Shakespeare?  If you’re like me, you look forward each spring to Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ (SFSL) productions in Forest Park.  And we’re not alone.  There are more than 70 Shakespeare festivals, projects, and events in the United States each year, including festivals in places where you might not expect them, such as Texas, Utah, and Alabama. (Not all culture, apparently, happens in New York City.)

We are fortunate in the St. Louis region to have great, and often FREE, access to some of the best cultural events on the planet. Anybody willing to stand in line for a bit can see free musical theater at the Muny in Forest Park (click here for information on the 1500 FREE SEATS they offer nightly).  Admission to the Saint Louis Art Museum is free, and they often have one free night every week for special exhibits.  St. Louis Shakespeare produces four plays each year, three of the Bard’s and one other, with tickets in the $15 to $25 range.  Even non-literary places offer good deals.  If you get there before noon on Saturdays, Missouri Botanical Gardens is FREE to St. Louis City and County residents, and of course, the Saint Louis Zoo is always free (early birds can get into the Children’s Zoo for free during the first hour the Zoo is open, daily, and a $65 Zoo membership pays for itself in parking passes alone). These are all good things to know for families on a budget (we took advantage of many of these options when the kids were little and I was a stay-at-home mom).

But the best FREE deal locally, by far, is the yearly professional-troupe, Shakespeare Festival production. SFSL is now in its 12th year and will perform Othello this year, running May 25 through June 17 in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park (to find Shakespeare Glen, stand in front of the Art Museum, looking out toward Art Hill, then look to your right).

Here is some advance information from Mary McHugh, the Festival’s PR director:  “Complimentary backstage tours, 20-minute Talkback sessions and Green Show activities will highlight some of the festivities surrounding this year’s Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ production of Othello, which opens [next] week at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.  Performances are scheduled nightly at 8 p.m., May 25-June 17 (excluding Tuesdays).  The official opening night is set for Friday, May 25; preview performances will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, May 23-24.”

Kikwood Staff and Volunteers Read "Henry IV, Part I"

In addition to the yearly production, three years ago SFSL launched its “Shake38” pre-festival event.  Shake38 started out as readings from all 38 of Will’s plays over a 38-hour period. We did a reading at the Kirkwood Train Station of Henry IV, Part I in 2010 (photo, right).  Shake38 has evolved into a five-day kick-off party with readings and parties all over the region.  This year it starts on Thursday, May 17, and culminates with Tent Night on May 23.  Cick here for a full schedule.

Pat Jones (L) and Beth von Behren

The coolest thing about Shake38 is that it’s all about the people who LOVE Shakespeare. The readings are typically not done by professional actors, but by people like you and me, people who just love to read this stuff and don’t get many opportunities to do so out loud.  Our 2010 reading at the Train Station was performed entirely by City of Kirkwood employees (and one lone Boards & Commissions’ member, Pat Jones – see photo, left).  We had so much fun.

So if you have never visited Shakespeare Glen for a production of one of the Bard’s plays, I encourage you to go this year.  Othello is not to be missed (although personally I can’t wait for them to someday do Henry IV, Part I, which is my favorite).  I will leave you with one of my favorite Shakespearean speeches, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, delivered by one of his best characters (Puck). Enjoy.

*If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.



Written by Beth

Beth von Behren is the Public Information Officer for the City of Kirkwood. She manages the City Website (KirkwoodMO.org) and writes/edits both the monthly "Eye on Kirkwood" (published on the last Friday of the month inside the "Webster-Kirkwood Times") and the every-other-weekly e-newsletter "Kirkwood Happenings." To sign up for the e-newsletter, send an email to Info@KirkwoodMO.org.

Website: http://www.kirkwoodmo.org