My friend Jann Nishimoto organized a trip to Cedar City to attend the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and I was lucky enough to tag along. Geri Nishimoto, Flora Santiago, and Julie Gardner also joined in the fun.
One of the plays we attended was "The Two Gentlemen of Verona". The playbill said that this was one of Shakespeare's least enjoyed or appreciated comedies, but I found it quite entertaining. It's a story of two young men--best friends--who end up falling in love with the same woman. One of them betrays the other and acts very badly, but learns important lessons, changes, and is forgiven by all at the end.
It has some very delightful dialog...I enjoy how Shakespeare uses his fools, clowns, and servants to make profound statements about the nature of life and love. This play is where the statement "Love is blind" originates...it's in the middle of a very amusing conversation between one of the young men and his servants.
I was impressed with the actors' ability to memorize the complex dialog, and to project their voices throughout the theatre without microphones. (We were sitting on the 4th row, which was close enough to see them spit as they worked hard to speak loud enough to be heard by people on the last row of the balcony).
Another play we attended was "The Taming of the Shrew". We watched a version that had been adapted to happen near the time of World War II. Although I enjoyed Shakespeare's great dialog here again, I found the play very distasteful. Katherine, an ill-tempered woman, is given in an arranged marriage to a husband who withholds food and sleep and otherwise abuses her. She turns into a sweet, submissive wife and the play ends with her lecturing the other women on how they are their husband's property and they exist to serve him.
The story line just doesn't ring true to me. Abusing someone is not an effective way to make them sweet and submissive. You may get your way in the short run, but definitely not in the long run. And, the misogynistic ideas just don't sit well with my modern "women-are-people-too" sensibilities. I think I'll skip this one in the future...
The other plays being shown this year include:
- Cyrano de Bergerac
- The School for Wives (which Jann and Geri saw and enjoyed)
- Fiddler on the Roof
The festival ends August 30, so you've still got a little time if you'd like to check it out!
From there, we headed towards Bryce Canyon, until we were stopped by a traffic jam (or more precisely, a "sheep jam"). Here's a little video of the experience:
As we neared Bryce Canyon, we got to drive through the unique Red Canyon, which has two rock tunnels you can drive your car through, just like in the movie "Cars".
Finally, we spent a few minutes admiring the Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. Here's a few shots from there:
Here's Jann and I, not wanting to stand too close to the edge! Later we were interested to read about the top causes of death at Bryce Canyon. They are:
- Heart attacks (we figured that happened when people tried to climb up the steep slopes out of the canyon. Walking down is so fun and easy...you kind of get lured into going deeper than you realize...)
- Falling off cliffs (fortunately, we avoided that one)
- Lightening (we did get sprinkled on, and thought it would be cool to get some photos of lightening over the canyon, but decided it's better to buy a "lightening over Bryce" post card instead!)
- Vehicle accidents
We thought that the roots of this tree, which were a foot above ground, were pretty cool:
Here's one last shot: