Student Experience Blog

Fleeting Festival Fun (For Free!)

This week, I made the tearful decision that me and my Netflix account needed to take a break (he was getting waaaaaayyyyy too clingy). Finding myself suddenly without my go-to entertainment venue, I needed to branch out. I decided to embrace my inner high-society aristocrat and partake in one of life’s richer, finer activities. I dressed in my finest shawls, packed my comically sized binoculars, and asked the driver to saddle up my best horse, for I, ladies and gentlemen, was off to the theatre.

For almost 40 years, anyone who ever woke up and thought to themselves “wow, what a hankering for culture I have right now. Whatever am I to do?” had an easy solution to their quandary. The Idaho Shakespeare Festival offers residents a chance to take a break from their hectic lives, and instead, step into a whole new one. Why stay at home watching crappy reality TV instead when you can join Henry IV in his fight against the rebels? Or tame the shrew with Petruchio? Or even watch the Shakespeare classic, Romeo and Juliet? I myself have never seen it, but I do love a good romantic comedy.

After living here for my entire life (that’s almost two whole decades, for those of you playing at home), I was embarrassed to say I had never been. It was a classic staple of all Idaho summers, like road construction or preparing for the sacred potato harvest (I know, a potato joke when talking about Idaho? Is there no end to my wit?). So when the email went around that they would be taking a bus of students to the theatre to see that night’s performance of The Foreigner, I was intrigued. When they tacked on the “FOR FREE!!!!!” at the end, I was sold. Figuratively, of course, because it was free (did you miss that part?).

While The Foreigner may not be part of William Shakespeare’s repertoire, I was still excited. I researched the play beforehand in the hopes of impressing those around me with my extensive knowledge (spoiler alert: it didn’t). So when we arrived at the front of the amphitheater, it took an extraordinary amount of self-control on my part to refrain from skipping to my seat, a practice generally frowned upon for those individuals no longer able to get away with ordering the Kid’s Meal at most restaurants.

The first 15 minutes of the show were great. Fantastic time, those 15 minutes. Wonderful. It was around minute 16 that I was introduced to the bane of all outdoor activities’ existence: rain. If all the world is a stage, as Shakespeare once said, than easily the villain of whatever show we’re playing in is that wicked harpy, Mother Nature. And, as is wont to do in Idaho, it couldn’t just lightly sprinkle, showering us and the actors in a light mist. No, no, no. It simply had to pour at such a level that I felt somebody should call Noah and tell him to get the gang together.

My favorite part of the night, was the fact that the people working behind the curtain at the theatre thought they could go toe-to-toe with the weather. As if they had never seen Twister, or The Perfect Storm, or Sharknado? They employed the favored tactic of all middle-schoolers during an argument: they ignored it. “Rain? What rain? That’s weird, all I see is bright, blue Idaho horizon. No rain here.”  While, predictably, that plan didn’t pan out, they were at least able to keep the performance going till intermission. Half of The Foreigner is better than no Foreigner.

All and all, I had a lot of fun. I got soaked and will probably never know how that play was supposed to end, but I am so totally good with it.

-Ashley A. Miller

P.S. Holy alliteration, Batman! I am so getting extra credit in my poetry class for the sheer amount of repetitive beauty in that title.

Ashley is a sophomore Creative Writing major from Payette, Idaho.