The Bard can still draw a crowd. Hundreds of people packed Welles Park Saturday afternoon to watch a performance of The Taming of the Shrew by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Mounted in conjunction with the Chicago Park District, the abridged version of the play was family friendly and well suited to the outdoor setting.
They came with with lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets, filling the west end of the park nearly to the sidewalk along Western Avenue. Scott Blackwood, who hails from Evanston, appreciated the setting and dynamic performance, even with the play’s difficult themes. “I loved it,” he said. “I have a six-year-old who watched the entire play. It really worked being outside.”
For latecomers Laura and Jim Lash, also of Evanston, their vantage point near the rear of the audience didn’t seem to be much of a distraction. “We sat far in the back, but we were drawn into it,” Jim said of the play. “The sound was excellent.”
Producing plays in the park is one way to bring Shakespeare out of the theater and into people’s neighborhoods, but for John Bowles of Lincoln Square, it was also a way to bring the community together. “I can’t believe the turnout. It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s great for the community, and it’s great to see everybody out here. I loved it.”