Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Shakespeare at Rutgers Gardens

Shakespeare in Rutgers Gardens - character scene 1
Last week we had the great pleasure of seeing Midsummer Night’s Dream (yes, the play by Shakespeare) in Rutgers Gardens. The play was low budget with wonderful acting, simple modern summer clothes for costumes, and a Starbucks cup was a prop. I am not sure which character was which, but the above female whom I think played a male was the first actor on the stage. The first scene was outside the log cabin. We the audience had to move around with the actors from scene to scene within Rutgers Gardens. It seemed OK at first, but by our tenth time moving, it was a little bit too much up and down. I went with my daughter who had never seen Shakespeare before. I think she might enjoy the kind where you sit in one spot, and the actors wear costumes. When I grew up in a Boston suburb, we used to watch Shakespeare plays by the Charles River (I remember The Tempest, for example). And when my husband lived in Manhattan, he had the opportunity to see Shakespeare in the park.

Duke and Lysander
This is from the first scene – I am fairly sure the woman on the right is the Duke. The guy in the back is Lysander (the other main male lead was Demetrius – I get the two confused. One was in love with Hermia, and the other was loved by her). My daughter was even more confused – she had no idea what was going on at all. But she was happy to see one of her theater friends there. She said everyone was laughing at certain parts, and she did not know why. We figured some of the audience knew the play well (one of my friends did), and others like us were fairly clueless.

Nick Bottom
This actor was Nick Bottom. I enjoyed his antics. I think he was supposed to be putting on a play within a play. We never got to see the end of this production because it started to thunder and lightning at the end. But we did see a lot.

Hermia and Helena
The actress on the left is Hermia (note the Starbucks cup). The one in the blue who is on her knees is Helena. And in the back is much of the audience!

Queen of the Fairies
Here is the Queen of the Fairies (Titania).

Puck with King of the Fairies
On the left is the fairy Puck (he causes a lot of trouble, putting people to sleep and having them fall in love with the wrong people). On the right is the King of the Fairies. I am pretty sure that is a woman dressed like a man.

Here is Puck, who causes (or seems to) a lot of the mix ups and inconveniences. Spraying fairy dust is a dangerous art form.

Nick Bottom donkey
I believe Puck is one who turns Nick Bottom (above) into a donkey. That’s a pretty good donkey, isn’t it?

Hermia and Oberon
This is the finally scene we were able to see. After this, it started to rain. Soon came thunder and lightning. Hermia (the one with a Starbucks cup who is in love with Lysander and loved by Demetrius) is on the left; and Oberon, King of the Fairies, is on the right. I had to use my flash on my camera because it was getting dark.

You can learn more about Shakespeare at Rutgers Gardens on the Rutgers Gardens website. The theatrical group is called re-Think Theatrical – I hope they do more.

Have you ever seen Shakespeare performed outside? Which play?

Jill says

Great photos!

A.K. Andrew says

How fantastic to see Shakespeare without all the pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies it. And how great for the troupe to be able to put it on in such an affordable way. Great photos too :-)

Lorri M. says

What fantastic photos! I love the fact that you brought us into the play, through your captures.

Susan Cooper says

Oh how fun. I never tire of Shakespeare. There are so many way and places to perform in he plays. ?

Laura says

That is so cool . . . I have been there many times, so I can picture the traveling around to get from the log cabin to the gazebo. Not to digress, but I really love the bamboo forest there.

Klara LeVine says

We also have an outside presentation in the part behind the Kind David Hotel - but not as many ups and downs. You'll find it here on facebook: Theater in the Rough Presents - "Richard III: in motion". It's usually in the summer, looking forward to what they'll be doing this year. I've never been disappointed, great acting, creative costuming and just all around family fun.

Leora says

Klara, oh, yes, that Beth Steinberg's group. I love when she posts about her theater troupe - looks like wonderful performances.

Ramblingwoods says

We have Shakespeare in the Park here.... One place and costumes. It is very popular .. Michelle

craftygreenpoet says

Looks like a great production!

Jeri says

I'll speak like the true English teacher that I am and recommend reading a summary beforehand ;) Boise has a great outdoor theater that usually puts on two Shakespearean plays and three other plays each summer. It's by far my most favorite thing to do around here.

Leora says

I had in mind to do just that - read a synopsis with my daughter beforehand. However, given life as it is and my daughter's slim willingness to go, I'm happy that we made it at all. Somehow when you get to the show, at least then my body can relax from all the other "stuff!"

Donna@Gardens Eye View says

I have seen a few at our local Renaissance Festival...this play was one of them....I prefer Shakespeare outside I think.


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