Dating on a Budget
Dream in High Park
When I started my blog almost three years ago, my fourth post was Dream in High Park, one of my favourite events to attend every summer. I have been going to witness the Canadian Stage production of various Shakespeare plays in High Park since I first started high school, when my parents decided to trust me and when I began to really appreciate the words of William Shakespeare. I would attend the plays with friends mostly and on occasion I would take a date. I believe that this summertime tradition is the perfect date activity for any dating level. It is the perfect place for cuddling under the stars surrounded by trees with a picnic and watching a play. Dream in High Park is the most romantic date option that can be done for under $20 and who can go wrong with nature, a picnic and a play.
This date is very simple to put together. There are some materials that you most likely own and a few you will need to go out and purchase. A few things you will need to bring from home include a blanket to sit on, a few pillows to sit on and a blanket (the temperature does go down and this summer has been particularly cold at night). The event always encourages attendees to bring a picnic to enjoy before and during the show. This is what is going to get you a lot of cute points my friends! Now depending on what you are going to eat on your picnic you may need utensils, plates and most definitely will need napkins, which we all should have, if you have a picnic basket - bonus. The only thing you need to pay for, other than admission which is PWYC, is food which I have managed to do for under $10. Also don’t be afraid to use all resources possible! Are you growing tomatoes in your backyard? Use them! This is the time.
I suggest getting there at 6:00 p.m. when the doors open so that you can enjoy your picnic and have a conversation. Also it does get pretty packed. The two times I went this year it really hasn’t been packed until 15 minutes before the show, but I blame the weather men and women for that. I have gone on nights when rain has been called for, but then nothing happens. I predict that people wait until the hour before to decide whether or not they will be attending because of the always impeding possibility of rain. Once you’re there and the play begins and the sunsets you are taken on a magical journey in the serene escape that is High Park.
The last thing to do is to figure out which show is right for your date.
Titus Andronicus– 4.5 stars
Although Rome has emerged victorious from a ten year war with the Goths, it is far from stable, with the late emperor’s two sons vying to succeed him, and the tribunes pushing to have an emperor by common election rather than by birthright.
The tribunes have chosen the Roman general Titus Andronicus, who returns from the war bringing Tamora, Queen of the Goths, her three sons and Aaron the Moor as his prisoners.
In accordance with Roman ritual, Titus orders the sacrifice of Tamora’s eldest son. Rejecting his nomination for the empery, Titus names the late ruler’s eldest son, Saturninus, as emperor, who thanks him by declaring his intention to marry Titus’ daughter, Lavinia, who is betrothed to Saturninus’ brother, Bassianus. When presented with the Goth prisoners however, Saturninus falls in love with Tamora, and makes her his empress instead of Lavinia. The newly empowered Tamora vows to exact revenge on the Andronicus family for the murder of her son.
Aaron the Moor has his own plan of revenge however – one that wreaks havoc on both families and on Rome itself.
Bloody murder, are the two words to describe this gruesome Shakespeare play that I have never had the honour of reading. Amputations, whether self-inflected or brought upon by others, occurred almost every second along with people being cooked into meals. These elements made this one of the more disturbing Shakespeare’s in the park in a while. With Goth/ The Matrix/ S&M looking apparel for the cast as well as the amazing use of props, I am willing to forget the touch of modernity they included at the end when Titus began playing an electric guitar and I felt I was at an Ozzy Osbourne concert – mistakes are always made.
This is perfect play to see on a date if you want to be his or her hero. Put your arm around them when the blood starts to flow and provide them with that sense of security. The end of this gruesome play had me standing up declaring it was the best Dream in High Park production. That was until I saw the following.
As You Like It - 5 Stars
Duke Senior lives in the Forest of Arden after being exiled by his younger brother, Duke Frederick. Duke Senior’s daughter, Rosalind, remains in the court with Frederick, where she falls in love with Orlando, who has come to the court to compete in a wrestling match. Rosalind is soon banished herself, and the two lovers are separated.
Accompanied by her cousin, Celia, and the court fool, Touchstone, Rosalind disguises herself as a young boy and renames herself Ganymede as they all escape to join Duke Senior in the forest. Orlando, having learned that his elder brother, Oliver, is plotting against his life, flees to the forest as well – but does not recognize Rosalind when he meets her, dressed as Ganymede.
Seizing the opportunity to test the sincerity of his love for her, Rosalind engages Orlando in a game of romantic role-playing, while deflecting the attentions of Phebe, a shepherdess. An inspiring and raucous classical comedy of mistaken identity.
Yes, I immediately retracted my statement when I saw As You Like It, which I felt was done perfectly. With a backdrop that was perfect for the outside theatre, the music, the amazing cast and the fact that there were no modern twists to distract you from the world of Shakespeare, this was an exceptionally well done play. I must extend my applause to the shows beautiful lead Amy Rutherford who plays Rosalind. I was in awe by her performance and you will be as well. Her character Rosalind and Alexander Plouffe’s Orlando had the perfect chemistry for two lovers who fell for each other at first sight. What was really impressive is that Rutherford’s performance embodied the power and control that I have always expected from a lead Shakespearean woman.
Another highlight for was Jan Alexandra Smith in the role of Jaques, who delivered my favourite Shakespearean monologue – “All the world’s a stage” – in a way that made me smile.
The musical elements were great and it made me feel like I was at a folk festival or listening to X Factor’s Alex & Sierra. Not to mention James Graham and Emilio Vieira were both scene stealers. This is perfect play if you just want to see something about love and lovers who meet at first sight.