In a veritable orgy of cultural events, ADG and I went to see Henry IV, Part I; hosted by the Festival Theatre Ensemble at the dubiously-titled “First Annual” Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival. The event was complete with everything you’d expect from an outdoor theatre event: pre-show picnic, somewhat cheesy backdrop possibly constructed largely from cardboard, 14 and 15 year old “employees” selling water and cookies instead of being out with their friends like all the other kids they knew with mothers not in the show, Lady Shakespeare as a Wal-Mart-ian greeter who replaced the ubiquitous “howdy” with “Hail sir well met”, and a host (ie about a dozen) other theatre-goers huddled under blankets and the delusion of Ol’ E.
Again noted, by the way, was the apparent fact that we were the youngest audience participants…which I repeatedly take as a compliment.
At any rate, the show was actually very good, and the sword-fights were simultaneously remarkably sophisticated and comically involved for a fledgling theatre company performing in the middle of a nowhere park. In fact, the fights were strangely reminiscent of all of our remembered play battles where you’d fake a punch (or sword-thrust) and punctuate it with that pu-ISHHH sound effect you’re all undoubtedly familiar with… And if you think by “reminiscent” I mean to imply that it only reminded me of those fake fights of yore instead of actually being just like said fights, in that the grown men actually were making those sounds, as if subconsciously, and in deference to long-ago summer-days…then you’d be mistaken.
Also, Sir John Falstaff was super-funny.
Last bit of funny [not funny “ha-ha” but funny interesting] observation: the first five minutes were virtually unintelligible, but the Bard’s English started to grow on me thereafter, to the point where the dialogue was easily understood by the end of the play. Weird.