Monday, June 29, 2015

Kansas City: Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

King Lear program and button.

Each summer, one of our favorite June activities is attending the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in Southmoreland Park. This year's production, King Lear, was dramatic and dark, but a great performance and a lovely time as usual.
Festival entrance.

The festival has a pre-show talk and many booths with concessions of wine, sandwiches, and popcorn, but we usually just bring our picnic basket and hang out on the lawn for a few minutes before the show. A fresh baguette, some cheese, dips, fruit, small chocolates, and wine are the perfect accompaniment to the drama.
We met The Bard himself!
Clouds in the distance.

The weather is often hot and humid during the festival, but this year it was a bit cooler and more comfortable than usual. There were beautiful clouds off to the north and east, which provided a bit of extra intrigue for the show- at the point when King Lear is leaving the castle the play includes a storm, which on the night we attended was supplemented with real lightning off in the distance. The performance starts at 8 pm, and the sun goes down throughout the first half of the play. It's quite magical to grow increasingly interested in the story and characters as the sun retreats, and the sunset truly heightens the drama of the performance. 
The view of the stage from our blanket.

The festival is free, but there are options for reserved seats or reserved blanket space. We just opt for the free grassy area and give a small donation.
Picnic basket.

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