Five Reasons to See Shakespeare in the Park

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1. It's free. Two theater companies (Wooden O and Greenstage) means you can watch 4 free plays every summer, all while basking on the lawn nibbling dinner.

2. It's fun. This is not your pretentious, bloviating English teacher's Shakespeare. Taming of the Shrew set in a trailer park? Twelfth Night on Gilligan's Island? The Merchant of Venice performed in 1950's golf pants? To call it fresh is an understatement.

3. It's easy. If you think Shakespeare is unmitigatingly obtuse (difficult to understand)...well, who could blame you? But this summer's plays—especially Winter's Tale and Taming of the Shrew—are of a more linear sort. A pair of 12-year-old boys easily followed the plot of Winter's Tale last night, and there's enough comedy and horseplay thrown in to keep even been-there tweens entertained.

4. It's good for your brain. Shakespeare makes you smarter. He created more than 1,000 words we all still use, including: courtship, high-pitched, misquote, sanctimonious, unmitigated and zany. In Winter's Tale last night, someone actually exited pursued by a bear. And imagine the thrill of hearing "All the world's a stage," "To thine own self be true," and "The lady doth protest too much" go whizzing by in the mix of oddball Shakespearean language (It's all Greek to me.).

5. It's good for your community. You should go see Shakespeare in the park so that Shakespeare in the park will continue to exist. And the people-watching at these things is not half-bad. Also the picnic-basket watching, but that's another post entirely.