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Saturday Letters

Intimacy Is Overrated

July 20, 2002

Regarding Don Shirley's review of the Shakespeare Festival's production of "Romeo and Juliet," in particular his lament that the Pershing Square venue "dissipates much of the energy generated on stage" (" 'Romeo' Has Pop; No Snap or Crackle," July 13):

On a recent summer evening I leaned relaxed against a low wall at Pershing Square and watched this production amid local inhabitants, Shakespeare zealots, business suits, neighborhood families and those extravagantly tall edifices that ascend like monoliths outbound toward the moon and whose magnificent presence fell softly like a shroud of sublime ambience upon a fine performance.

Behind a section of reserved seating in close proximity to the stage, playgoers were comfortably reclined on picnic blankets, in beach and camping chairs and creatively perched on walls.

Across Olive Street I noticed a few guests of the elegant Biltmore as they peered curiously from their hotel room windows.

By performing "Romeo and Juliet" in Pershing Square free, the Shakespeare Festival provides what is otherwise unobtainable to a large portion of the audience in attendance in a public and unique setting.

To attempt to make Pershing Square more intimate would detract from the ambience inherent in an urban park setting and only succeed in making the venue less inviting to the exact people the Shakespeare Festival hopes to reach with its performances.


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