On Saturday night my wife and I strolled over to the 1500-seat Delacorte Theater in Central Park to see the Public Theater’s production of “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.”
Though the day had been cloudy and muggy, the weather broke around 6PM and turned clear and cool. The thermometer read 74-degrees when the play began and dropped ten degrees during the two-hour and 45-minute performance, to a cool but nearly perfect 64.
In a world that seems to hate art, intelligence and anything not related to a big-assed Kardashian, or the small-handed Vulgarian currently jerking-off in the White House, New York, for all its chaos, has remained a bastion of civility.
We still have opera here. And food that isn’t first frozen and pre-desiccated and then deep fried in the oil of pig anus. And we have Shakespeare in the Park, for something like the 50th year in a row.
It wasn’t quite dark when the play began, and right off twilight’s bat the audience hushed and laughed at the 400-year-old comedy. I looked to the west and saw a sliver of moon rise over the Beresford, over on Central Park West and 81st. In short order I saw the twinkling of Venus, some one-hundred million miles from the moon, rise then hide behind the branches of the park’s enormous London planes.
Still not dark, a vee of long-necked geese flew east overhead toward the Croydon on Madison and 86th, honking against the declaiming of the thespians below.
The night darkened and the play went on with a superior Daniel Burstein playing Bottom and the Ass and Phylicia Rashad as star-power as Titania.
Midsummer is a play I’ve seen a dozen times. The Public prefers comedies outdoors over the summer, whereas I’d love to see a Richard or a Henry, they seem to hit us with Twelfth Night of Midsummer every other year.
A small complaint on my part, for a midsummer’s night, that was very nearly ideal.