For Christmas, my beloved gave me tickets to Much Ado about Nothing at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Unfortunately, because of some crazy airline prices, for him to come home this weekend and attend this performance was not possible. So, I got the next best thing--a girls' night out with the Diva!
After chopping on chips and salsa and yummy salads, we headed over to Lockhaven (with a short detour!). I love being at this theatre. It's intimate and lovely, not rinky-dink at all. I love the U-shaped seating and how the action is all around you. I love being so physically close to the performance that you are part of the performance. Actors interact with audience members. (At Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio sat on some one's lap during a monologue.) Being here reminded me of past plays I had seen here or at Lake Eola (sitting in the rain with high school students, eating pasta at Kathy's, the fire alarms). I was glad I was able to do this one more time before leaving.
We were seated in the center, a few rows back, with a great view of the action. As Patti and I flipped through our programs, she gestured to the older couple next to her and then at the picture in the program. We were seated next to Mr. and Mrs. Lowndes--as in the law firm, as in one of the $25,000 kind of donors. (When we left the theatre, the couple that came with the Lowndes returned one of their programs to the basket by the door, only taking one home with them. Mrs. Lowndes, in appreciation, notes, "That does help with the printing.")
Much Ado is such a fun play with fabulous sparring, great insults, and sweet romantic moments too. They set the play in a 1940ish post-war Italy, with matte red lipstick, peep-toe shoes, and swing music. Benedick and Beatrice were fantastic and Don Pedro (who reminded me of Bocc the whole night) was very good. During the scene where Claudio, Don Pedro, and Leonado are deliberately talking about the eavesdropping Benedick, I was clutching my belly from laughing so hard. Benedick was swinging from the banisters, flailing on a ladder, and stuck under a push-cart umbrella as he tried to "hide" from the conspirators. It was a great escape for the evening.
When I got home (so late!), I found the house neat and orderly thanks to my wonderful babysitter. She even organized the basket in the bathroom that holds the kids' toothpaste and hair accessories. No dishes were in the sink and every toy was in its place.