The Cleveland Shakespeare Company was in town last night and put on a wonderful performance of Hamlet. This is the third year they've graced our humble community college with their presence giving those of us starved for culture a free show.
But the Andersons got more than one show last night, I'm afraid to say. The tale I'm about to unfold is so strange, I honestly can say that you had to be there to appreciate it, but I shall attempt to tell it true.
There is a little outdoor amphitheater where the show was to be held. Some people bring chairs and some blankets. A few hardy souls bring nothing and sit right on the grass or hard concrete steps. Last year we took a blanket and it sucked sitting on the ground all that time, so this time it was chairs.
As we scan for a place to sit, we spy a nice open spot right behind a blanket that's been spread on the concrete. There's a girl sleeping on this blanket using a wadded up beach towel for a pillow. She has an empty plastic cup clutched in one sleeping hand. This girl isn't just napping though, she appears to be passed out cold. We set up our chairs behind this snoozing person and wait for the show to start. I gaze down at the sleeper and notice a good sized spider on the back of her bare thigh. As a wonder if I should brush it off, the spider scurries up and over her bottom, up her back, into her hair and back out, OVER HER EAR, finally jumping off the top of her head. I wanted to scream.
Fifteen minutes later the show starts and the sleeping girl slumbers on. Occasionally she turns or fidgets. Soon she is directly in front of me and the Boy giving us a total view up her too short shorts to reveal her black and white stripped panties. Adjusting this part of her clothing now becomes part of her nocturnal activities as well. There have been plenty of more spiders and ants using her as a highway this whole time as well.
The players are booming on the stage, acting their hearts out, but still our favorite audience member prefers her dreams. This goes on for two hours.
Finally, right when Hamlet accepts Laertes challenge of a duel, Sleeping Beauty sits up. She doesn't look disoriented at all. Actually she looks very comfortable in her surroundings. She adjusts all her bits and pieces some more, rummages through her purse and finally settles in for a smoke. For a short while she actually pays attention to the excellent sword fight on the stage but then decides to do some texting instead.
Everyone is dead on the stage and Horatio is giving his sad, sad speech to end the play. Our theater lover is folding up her beach towel and her blanket, luckily she doesn't stand right in front of me to do all this. She locates her high heel shoes and picks up all her stuff just as Fortinbras delivers the last lines. While the cast takes it bows, she picks her way through the dark going who knows where.
Tonight is Rosencrantzs and Guildenstern Are Dead. I do hope we can watch this play with her again. She added so much to the performance. Hamlet will never be the same for any of us again.