I admit it – I’m not a big fan of Shakespeare. Or as that great poet, Yogi Berra, once said of the Bard, “Our similarities are different.” It always seems to me that Will goes out of his way to turn a perfectly straightforward thought into a long and twisting road that, without benefit of enigmatic insight, finds itself so convoluted as to leave the noblest of minds without direction. Come to think of it, that’s the same way I feel about opera. But that’s a story for another day.
So if I can sit through an entire production of a dark epic like Macbeth and not just tolerate but really enjoy it, the Delaware Shakespeare Festival in Wilmington has a real hit on its hands! Part of the charm is the setting. I’ve never found Rockwood Mansion to be particularly compelling as an historic site, but as a back drop for one of the most popular murder mysteries of all time, it’s world-class.
There are lots of unique facets that make the Delaware Shakespeare Festival’s productions at Rockwood especially enjoyable beyond the remarkable Edwardian atmosphere created by the Mansion. The opportunity to savor a glass of champagne with a dollop of caviar during the performance comes immediately to mind. But there’s also the beautiful outdoor setting where the rustling trees and chirping of birds add a sense of realism to the experience. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the first rate cast obviously enjoys what they’re doing.
This is the 8th year the Delaware Shakespeare Festival has performed at Rockwood, and by all accounts the experience – like the size of the audience – has improved every year. Tickets are just $12 for adults and $10 for students (6 and older), seniors and active military. But here’s the good news if you’ve got young kids. Children 10 and under are completely free on Sundays with a paid adult admission.
The Festival runs Wednesdays through Sundays through the end of July. On Sundays, gates open at 4:45 pm with the performances at 6:00. The rest of the days, the gates open at 6:15 pm, with performances at 7:30. Try to get there right when the gates open to claim a picnic patch with a good view and to catch the strolling minstrels, pre-performance orientation and comedic pre-show. Oh, and by the way…just in case you ladies want to flaunt just the right look for the evening, check out my colleague’s recent article, Heading to the Delaware Shakespeare Festival? Here’s how to look the part!
Spend a special evening at this year’s Delaware Shakespeare Festival at Rockwood Mansion Park, and like Yogi says – you’ll “want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.” Now what could be more straightforward than that?
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