A Midsummer’s Night in Padua

A Shakespeare festival in Padua? Someone had the brilliant idea of imitating Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park and allowing anyone who wished to recite Shakespeare for 400 seconds to mark the 400th anniversary of his death.

I asked naively whether they had any speakers in Shakespeare’s native tongue. After a few minutes’ thought, the reply was,”We do now!”

Bill and I agreed to do a bit from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and the next problem was how to turn him into a donkey. The joke shop on Percy Street provided the answer, although I suspect that the enormous ears were really for bunny girls at a hen party.

The outdoor theatre at Palazzo Zuckermann was perfect, with bats zipping about, and spotlights highlighting ancient terracotta walls. The evening was great fun, with all sorts of speakers, some even attempting (heavily accented) English. There was a curious graveyard scene from Hamlet where Yorick’s skull was inexplicably represented by a pair of white baby shoes. Othello sounded as if he might have spent a few months in London’s east end. But of course the piece de resistance was Bottom and Titania’s scene. We were commended by the director as the best act, and posted on Facebook.

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