The théâtre de verdure du jardin Shakespeare is a delightful open air theatre in the Bois de Boulogne, to the west of Paris. Last month we saw Macbeth there in a dramatic performance by the Tower Theatre Company. It was my 8-year-old daughter’s first taste of Shakespeare and, after grappling with the arcane language for a while, she declared it enjoyable.
I very much liked the setting, with its different areas planted to represent various Shakespeare scenes – from a heath for Macbeth’s witches and the brook where Ophelia drowns to a woodland for a Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The stage itself is a splendid affair, with a mass of different entrances and exits, and all sorts of narrow paths and steps for the cast to gamble around. Underfoot is gravel, which apparently requires daily sword fight practice to avoid the characters loosing their footing and producing rather more “blood and death” than intended. Altogether it is a delightful enclosed space, worth a visit even if no performance is scheduled.
As a Brit in Paris, I think a post about Shakespeare in the Bois de Boulogne is as good a way as any to pause this blog for a while. We leave France in a couple of days and, after some time in the UK, will be setting off for our new adventure in India in early August. I hope very much to return in the autumn with stories of Mughal landscapes and colonial parks and ancient garden tombs…