Posts Tagged Sanborn Park

Romeo & Juliet – Play Review and Information about Shady Shakespeare Theater Co.

Shady Shakespeare Theater Company produces outstanding performances of the works of Shakespeare, in the park, in Silicon Valley, with a commitment to making Shakespeare accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.  It was found in 1999 by Dinna Myers, Sara Betts and Jeff Day.  It is a 501 (C) 3, non profit organization and almost entirely run by volunteers.  Many of the performances take place in beautiful and cozy setting at Sanborn Park, in Saratoga.   Shady Shakespeare Theater Company is funded by corporate grants, philanthropic activities, fundraising, and private donations.  Besides outstanding shows in the park, the organization is also involved in school outreach program to bring the excitement of live theater into the classrooms.   This is done through summer Shakespeare camps for kids and teens, through modular classes that schools can choose, and through after school theater performance programs at schools.


I have seen many absolutely incredible performances by Shady Shakespeare Theater Company.  Some of the memorable ones include, King Lear – , and Lion in Winter – .  Romeo and Juliet is currently playing till the end of August, 2013, at Sanborn Skyline County Park in Saratoga and you can purchase tickets at . It is directed by Jeanie Smith and John Bernard is the Lighting Designer.  Robert Campbell in the role of Romeo and Michael Camplin in the role of Mercutio are incredible.  However, it is Celia Maurice as Juliet’s nurse and Briana Mitchell in the role of Juliet who carry the show.  They are both simply outstanding and give completely engaging, flawless performance.  Celia Maurice as modern day Juliet looks stunning.  Sara Sparks and Christopher Tani are the stage managers and have done a great job, on low budget.  We hope you will support Shady Shakespeare with your donation, with volunteerism, with spreading the word, and by going to watch their performances.


Quotes from Romeo & Juliet


If you love Shakespearean language as I do, with its vivid expression, rich metaphors that link the concepts, poetic free verse that makes it highly emotive and rhetorical, flowery and dramatic; if you love the sheer beauty of the language, then below is a short synopsis of Romeo & Juliet with some selected quotes.


Don’t miss this beautiful performance where “two houses both alike in dignity” clash, but young lovers from two warring houses of Montagues and Capulets, fall in love, and Juliet laments, “my only love, sprung from my only hate.”   When Romeo hears her speak from her balcony, “O Romeo, Romeo!  Wherefore art thou Romeo?” he is readily willing to give up his name, as Juliet says the famous lines, “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.”  Juliet makes Romeo swear of his faithfulness, but not “by the moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb, lest that thy love prove likewise variable,” but instead, she says, “swear by thy gracious self, which is the god of my idolatry.”  Their love is so alike in the height and depth of intensity that young lovers frequently experience, including their loathing to part, “good night, good night!  parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”  Later, Juliet bids her nurse to get news from Romeo, but the nurse painfully tortures her by delaying sharing the news, and Juliet laments about the slowness of old folks, “old folks – many feign as they were dead; unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.”  Friar Laurence ominously warns the young lovers to temper down the intensity of their passion, for “these violent delights have violent ends, therefore love moderately; long love doth so; too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.” 


And then this beautiful dialogue between Romeo & Juliet, when Romeo comes to spend the night with her, after their wedding, but must leave at the crack of dawn, and tells Juliet he hears the lark, but Juliet persuading him to stay some more, says, “It was the nightingale, and not the lark, that pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear,” and Romeo responds, “Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain-tops”.  Juliet finally acknowledges that Romeo must leave, “It is the lark that sings so out of tune, straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps.”  While leaving, Romeo assures her that they will meet again and have many years to talk about their current troubles “and all these woes shall serve for sweet discourses in our time to come.”  Later when Romeo hears that Juliet is dead, he persuades the apothecary to sell him poison and the apothecary reluctantly agrees, saying “my poverty, but not my will, consents.” Romeo responds, “I pay thy poverty, and not thy will.”   Don’t miss a chance to hear the beautiful language and see once again the performance of this most famous love story of all times, for “there never was a story of more woe, than this, of Juliet and her Romeo.”  For tickets, go to



Romeo & Juliet

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King Lear by William Shakespeare – Play Review

The opening night performance of King Lear by William Shakespeare, directed by Angie Higgins and performed at Sanborn County Park in Saratoga did not disappoint and kept the audience riveted, to the very tragic end. Sangborn County Park is lushly wooded and the outdoor stage provides the perfect backdrop, with looming redwoods enhancing the sense of mystery and impending doom. Shady Shakespeare Theatre Company, committed to making Shakespeare accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, brings on stage, works of William Shakespeare in a way that demystifies the rich and challenging language of Shakespeare without dumbing it down. There are many opportunities for donors, corporate sponsors, ushers, and other volunteers and you can follow them on Twitter @ShadyShakes. King Lear performance was another amazing performance. Ross Arden Harkness was awesome as King Lear and the entire cast performed flawlessly, on the opening night. Acting, staging, lighting, choreographing of fencing and fight scenes, acoustics, enunciation, and costumes, were all flawless and delightful.

A storm is brewing in King Lear’s realm, as the aging monarch decides to distribute his wealth and spend his remaining years without the burdens of monarchy. He seeks declarations of love and regard from each of his three daughters. While his two daughters Gonoril and Regan, make flattering declarations of their love, his youngest, most favored daughter refuses to flatter him. “I love your Majesty, according to my bond; no more, no less,” says, Cordelia. Displeased, Lear disinherits her and keeping a retinue of 100 soldiers, divides the rest among his elder daughters and plans to spend the rest of his life with them and their husbands. His faithful servant, Kent, objects to this unfair treatment with a timely warning,
That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm.
Lear is enraged and banishes Kent from the country. Cordelia’s disinheritance leads the Duke of Burgundy to withdraw his suit, but the King of France is impressed by her honesty and marries her.

Soon after Lear divides his wealth between Gonoril and Regan, they seek to lower his retinue of soldiers and reduce his power.
O, sir! you are old;
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine.”You should be rul’d and led,” says Regan. Lear marches out into the storm, raging against his misfortune and his ungrateful daughters, “I am a man, more sinn’d against than sinning,” says Lear. The Fool remarks on the man who has planned his future based on flattery, “He’s mad, that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse’s health, a boy’s love, or a whore’s oath.”  While the Fool mocks Lear’s misfortune, Kent, Lear’s loyal servant, disguises himself and finding his way back into Lear’s service, protects him and guides him through the storm.

Meanwhile, Edmond, the son of Gloucester, resents his illegitimate status and tricks Gloucester with a forged letter, making him believe that his legitimate son, Edgar, plans to usurp his estate. So now there is another father who has disowned his good offspring in favor of a conniving, evil one. When Lear meets Gloucester, who has tragically lost his eyes, on account of his evil son Edmond, he says, wisely, “A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond justice rails upon yon simple thief. Hark, in thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief?”

How will it end for these two men, joined in tragic circumstances and finally wiser, but none the better? Perhaps this drama has been played out in many-a-life. At the peak of life, as one plans for the declining years ahead, it is perhaps with an over-inflated ego and an exaggerated sense of one’s accomplishments? Will an exaggerated sense of past accomplishments lead to arrogant, rash, and foolish choices? As in the case of Gloucester, are important decisions at this stage often based on irrational paranoia, and a false sense of one’s strength? Or are plans for future years often based on ego pandering as in the case of Lear? George Bernard Shaw wrote, “No man will ever write a better tragedy than Lear.”  I doubt you can see it better performed, at a better venue, than at Sanborn Park in Saratoga. Contact for details.

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