The story is told of a man who searched the world for a valuable treasure only to find it under his own feet upon his return home. This truth is valid in so many areas of life. My wife and I have visited many different countries and have many favorites, but there is only one place we have traveled to every summer for the last eighteen years. It is the first event we schedule before committing to any other tour and the place where we have celebrated our anniversary consistently over that span of time. And it is only a short few hours’ drive from Salt Lake.
Surrounded by some of the most spectacular red rock scenery in the world Cedar City hosts one of the top three Shakespearean Festivals in North America. Winner of a Tony for best theater this tiny community draws thousands from all over the west to attend live drama on a level that matches New York, London, and Stratford. I have seen better Shakespeare performed in Cedar City than in England. I know this is a subjective evaluation, but I stand to it. I am rarely disappointed by the professional actors and directors that gather each July and August in our own backyard.
I know for many the very name “Shakespeare” may bring back memories of high school English classes and long tutorials on Julius Caesar or Hamlet, but Shakespeare was originally meant to be seen not read and the experience of seeing a comedy or tragedy under the stars on the outdoor stage which replicates Shakespeare’s “Globe” in London will make even the most timid viewer an enthusiastic fan. Most who attend the Festival return each summer as regular as the swallows of Capistrano.
The Festival offers six plays—three from the “Bard,” a musical, a comedy, and another play from a well-known author. This year Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice rounded out the Festival offerings. The plays are punctuated by backstage tours, costume and props seminars, opportunities to talk with the principal actors and the Festival founder Fred Adams. To help create the mood of Elizabethan England a troupe of singers, dancers, and comedians in period costume perform on the “green” as traveling performers did centuries ago. For a few days Shakespeare will take you to Renaissance Verona, Venice, or Messina, ancient Rome, Egypt, or Athens. You can chill to the incantations of Scottish witches or watch the ghost of Hamlet’s father prowl the walls of Elsinore castle in Denmark. You will laugh yourself into stitches with the rollicking fun of young lovers overcoming the ingenious twists of plot which always end in a merry round of weddings. Enter into the minds, the hearts, and the souls of some of the most beloved characters in fiction, created by a man with a vast understanding and a universal sympathy with humanity.
The costumes, the sets, the lighting, the music, the drama, the fun, and the general ambiance create an impression I hunger each year to enjoy. So if your sights, or your budget, are not set on exotic far-away places, join us next summer for a little slice of the world. Mingle your tears and your laughter with Romeo and Juliet; revel in the enchanted forest mischief of A Mid Summer Night’s Dream; secretly share the private plotting and persuasive villainy of that rascal king of England Richard the Third; whistle, hum, tap your toes and fingers—singing your way through The Music Man. All this and more await in that jovial, solemn, magical, lifting, thought-engendering, laugh inducing, tear provoking, soul enhancing world of live theatre created and perfected for our entertainment and edification by the greatest writer of history—William Shakespeare—and those who followed in his footsteps. Is there a treasure under our own feet? Share in the secret, come to Cedar City and discover the answer!
|Mike and John are educators traveling the world with Fun For Less Tours.|