August 30th, we went to American Player's Theater for Romeo and Juliet. The threatening rain cleared up before showtime, and we had a lovely afternoon.
The production was up to APT's excellent standards, and thoroughly enjoyable. If the show could be said to belong to any one player, it would be Melisa Pereyra<http://americanplayers.org/about/people/melisa-pereyra> as Juliet. She played the Capulet daughter as fiery and willful, which worked very well. Christopher Sheard's Romeo was a good foil for her, but consequently lacked some of the drive that makes Romeo a successful lover.
Of course, having been in my own production recently, I was interested in the differences and how they worked. Notable was the Tybalt-Mercutio confrontation. Eric Parks' Tybalt is prickly, but not as bloodthirsty as he is usually played. In the fatal duel with Mercutio, it is clear that Mercutio is the aggressor. The interpretation of Mercutio given to Nate Burger to play (and which must have had directorial approval) isn't-well, mercurial enough. In the "Queen Mab" speech I always envisage Mercutio bouncing off the walls and chewing the scenery. Imagine the late Robin Williams in the role and you'd have my idea Mercutio--. Burger delivers the great monologue in an almost contemplative manner, which was the one aspect of the production I did not think worked.
I was pleased to see the always fine James Ridge as Capulet. His Capulet emphasized the doting father over the head of family, which moderated his confrontation with Juliet a bit. This was the opposite of the choice I had made, but was definitely valid and worked well, particularly given the very spirited Juliet to play off.
Wisconsin Highland Games
August 31st, we went to the Waukesha County Fairgrounds for the annual "Wisconsin Highland Games." We spent a very enjoyable two to three hours walking around the grounds, chatting with people in the clan booths, watching a bit of the "heavy sports", herding demonstration, and a few other things. We checked in on the archery competition in time to watch the long-distance event, in which all the archers simultaneously fired at a mark on the ground one hundred yards away, something you can only do with a large outdoor venue. Conclusion: a lone man standing on the mark would have been unscathed: on the other hand, a block of troops centered on the spot would have been hurting--.
Dealers were interesting, and we were glad to find the products of "The (In)Famous Welsh Cookie Company" on hand. These tasty snacks are unlike anything else, and we gleefully bought a couple of packages.
Milwaukee Steampunk Society
On September 10th, we went to the monthly Salon of the Milwaukee Steampunk Society at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center. We had a very pleasant time renewing acquaintances. The program for the evening was on hats, and Chicago-area Steampunk Greg Jensen gave a nice, informal talk on the various types of men's hats that would have been current in late Victorian times and which are frequently worn in the Steampunk milieu, illustrated with examples from his own extensive collection. Fortuitously, I had decided to celebrate the end of Summer (very much ended, it seemed, that evening) by wearing my Italian straw boater, which was one type of hat Mr. Jensen doesn't own, and so came in handy for the talk.
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