The Bard meets The Beatles

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There is no doubt about it. Shakespeare at Sand Harbor needs to be on your to do list for the summer of 2013.

Start with perhaps the most beautiful venue to watch a performance in the world. I mean what could be better than sitting on the sand and gazing out over granite boulders to where the emerald green meets the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe?

Next, watch an energetic and talented group of actors, who must certainly be enamored with the opportunity to put on a show in this location, perform a lively and funny Shakespeare comedy. Then, you get to watch the show with a large and happy group of folks who also can’t believe they are lucky enough to be spending an evening at The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor. Performances occur six nights a week until Aug. 25.

This year, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is being performed at Sand Harbor. Producing Artistic Director Charlie Fee, in his fourth season as the director, calls this “Shakespeare’s greatest comedy, and probably one of the greatest plays performed. It’s a perfectly structured piece of theater that is widely adored.”

And, widely performed throughout the country, probably because of its accessibility to a general audience. The play is about several interconnected love stories based on four young lovers.

“All the love stories have problems,” Fee says.

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While the story begins in ancient Greece, it travels into the woods where the characters encounter a fairy world, where a group of crazy, wild and mischievous fairies attempt to solve the problems of the mortals. In addition to the confused lovers, there is another story about a motley cast of local characters who are charged with putting on a play, and learn of the challenges of doing so.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is “wildly funny and appeals to everyone,” Fee says. “Even those who have never seen a Shakespeare play.”

After watching the show on July 14, I would heartily agree. The performance was fast paced, charming and frequently comical, even for those of us who have not read Shakespeare. The enthusiastically delivered, pithy Shakespeare lines were interspersed with music selections from The Beatles, which for some odd reason seemed to perfectly match the feeling of Shakespeare’s 500-year-old writings.

Throughout the performance, there were frequent and well-timed bits of whimsy and The Beatles music often was a good excuse for some light sarcasm and a wink and a nod at modern culture. One piece of important advice: Like a 4th of July fireworks show, whatever you do, don’t miss the conclusion. Just about the time you think the story line is wrapped up, the last 30 minutes is a non-stop laugh fest and my favorite part of the show.

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The performance
Performances are Tuesday to Sunday and start at 7:30 p.m. Parking at Sand Harbor is free to the venue for those ticket goers who arrive after 5 p.m. (With the parking lot full to the brim with beach goers until that time). Before the show, you can dine under an umbrella at the open air picnic tables in front of the Shakespeare Café. There you will find a wide-ranging and moderately priced menu including sandwiches, burgers, tacos, a variety of salads and a hearty collection of dessert concoctions. Or, you can relax with a glass of wine and views of the lake at the Stageside Tap and Tasting Room.

Arrive early to sample the Café fare, or you can stroll down to the beach with your own picnic and dine while watching the cool evening approach. On your way to your seat, you can stop at the Bard Ware store next to the Café, which sells a collection of Shakespeare at Tahoe-themed clothing and souvenirs.

Tickets range from $25 to $80 (with discounts available for students and military personal). Moving back from the stage, the first seven rows are reserved for the $80 Premium Seats, which give an intimate view of the performance. Here you can sit in comfy Adirondack chairs while being treated to wait staff taking care of your dining and drinking needs. As you move back to the $42 reserved seats, you are still close to the performance, but now high enough above the stage for good views of the lake. For $25, you get a first-come, first-served seat near the top of the mound of sand that will still provide beautiful views of the lake and the show. For group tickets, call (775) 298-0154.

As well, The Weekly is offering a special discount on Shakespeare tickets. Use HOTEL13 online when purchasing tickets and receive $5 off Lower or Upper Gallery tickets good Tuesday to Friday until Aug. 9.

For the kids
The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival offers free performances to introduce children to the works of William Shakespeare through the The D.G. Menchetti Young Shakespeare. Performances are offered at the Lake and in Reno in Carson City. Performances are free, but there is a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $1 per child to support the program. Reservations are required for these performances, and may be made by calling (775) 832-1616.

A Midsummer’s Camp is a great place for aspiring young actors to learn and have fun exploring the world and works of William Shakespeare and the magic of theater. The Midsummer Camp immerses students in fun, interactive and educational theater-based activities. Full- and half-day summer camps will be offered from July 29 to Aug. 2 for ages 7 to 14 on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream;” Musical Theater Camp from Aug. 5 to 9 for ages 10 to 16; and Shakespeare’s Stories from Aug. 5 to 9 for ages 4 to 6. Scholarships also are available. For details or to apply, visit laketahoeshakespeare.com.

For information and tickets for all events, visit laketahoeshakespeare.com or call (775) 832-1616.

Photos by Joy Strotz  |  Strotz Photography

 

“A Midsummer’s Night Dream”
Tues.-Sun. until Aug. 25 | 7:30 p.m.
Sand Harbor State Park | $25-$80

Young Shakespeare performance
July 29 | 10 a.m.
CVIC Hall, Minden | Free

Sierra Nevada Ballet
July 29 | 7:30 p.m.
Sand Harbor State Park | $22-$70

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” kids camp
July 29-Aug. 4 | Ages 7-14

Young Shakespeare performances
July 30-Aug. 1 | 10 a.m.
Sand Harbor State Park | Free

Young Shakespeare performances
Aug. 2 | 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Valhalla Boathouse Theater | Tahoe Tallac

Young Shakespeare performance
Aug. 5 | 7:30 p.m.
Bartley Ranch, Reno | Free

Reno Jazz Orchestra
Aug. 5 | 7:30 p.m.
Sand Harbor State Park | $22-$70

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” kids camp
July 29-Aug. 4 | Ages 7-14

Musical Theater Camp
Aug. 5-9 | Ages 10-16

Shakespeare’s Stories kids’ camp
Aug. 5-9 | Ages 4-6

Young Shakespeare performances
Aug. 6-8 | 10 a.m.
Sand Harbor State Park | Free

Lake Tahoe Chautauqua
Aug. 12 | 7:30 p.m.
Sand Harbor State Park | $22-$62

“Les Misérables”
Aug. 19 | 7:30 p.m.
Sand Harbor State Park | $25-$80

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Tim Hauserman
Tim wrote the official guidebook to the Tahoe Rim Trail, as well as “Monsters in the Woods: Backpacking with Children” and the children’s book “Gertrude’s Tahoe Adventures in Time.” Most of the year he writes on a variety of topics, but you will find him in the winter teaching cross-country skiing and running the Strider Gliders program at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area. He has lived in Tahoe since he was a wee lad and loves to be outdoors road and mountain biking, hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking and cross-country skiing.