So my brother was in town at the weekend and Dad suggested we could go to the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival performance of The Tempest. My partners and the OSOs' younger children were excited about this plan, so we made a big family group. I hadn't been sure about dragging Andreas to a long and somewhat complex play where he'd have to sit still and be quiet, but actually he was bouncingly enthusiastic about it. And he wanted to be taken out of the main rows of audience seating, but mainly because he wanted to be able to ask questions without disturbing the show.
It was extremely lovely, all of it. Cycling into town and eating a picnic in St John's gardens and hanging out with my parents and Screwy in a low-key way, and playing a bit of hide-and-seek (college gardens are pretty great for that!) And it was before the start of the heatwave, so it was sunny and pleasant without being boiling hot.
The play itself was standard CSF fare. It's hard to go very wrong with The Tempest; this production did Ariel and Caliban well, impressively inhuman, and that's probably what carries the play most. There was a lot of physical comedy even by Shakespearean standards, such as Ferdinand being really hammy about how he couldn't handle the physical work Prospero sets him. Screwy's carer thought that the older actors weren't as good as the younger ones, but I rather liked Prospero. For my taste The Tempest has far too much of the pointless clown duo of Stephano and Trinculo, but the actors were pretty good at clowning being amusingly drunk without too much cringe humour. In general everybody projected well enough to be audible outdoors, and they made decent use of the space. I am not being wildly enthusiastic, but it wasn't a hugely memorable performance, it was a decently skilled cast pleasantly and unobjectionably doing Shakespeare in the way that current audiences expect by default, with stage-style period costumes and nothing too shocking. Which is basically what the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival is for, so I am not at all complaining.
Sunday ghoti arranged an all-ages poly meet in the form of a nature walk in Milton Country Park. Which was highly enjoyable, about a third people I know and like and two thirds people I was interested to meet, and glad of a chance to chat to in a non-pressured way in a park, rather than in a loud bar on a week night. Apparently the group are experimenting with a 'no flirting' rule, in order to make a more welcoming environment where people can get to know eachother without getting hit on or feeling uncomfortable around people being coupley. Judith invented and taught an art activity to go along with the nature collecting. We picked Metamours' Day for the event, not realizing it coincided with a big festival in the park, but actually that was fine, once we got away from the stalls and fairground near the entrance there was still plenty of space for walking, and some of the families got to enjoy the activities after the main part of the walk was over. And ghoti came to mine for dinner afterwards, and generally it was a lovely summer weekend.
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