In the spring of 2003, my son and I attended our first Shakespeare Project of Chicago (SPC) production, The Merchant of Venice. That fall, we saw The Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by Jeff Christian, who also played Valentine, if I remember correctly; and in 2005, we caught The Winter’s Tale. After that, the move from Chicago coupled with busy weekend schedules prevented us from attending the theatrical readings.
Nearly a decade later, though, in February 2014, I finally introduced my husband and daughters to the SPC, and in a neat “full circle” moment, the production was The Two Gentlemen of Verona directed by Jeff Christian. For a few moments, it felt as if time were bending, folding in upon itself as I remembered encountering this play with my son while my husband took our then quite young daughters to play in a nearby park.
The four of us also saw All’s Well That Ends Well in 2014, and this year, we have been able to attend two SPC productions: The Winter’s Tale in January and Cymbeline in late February. Excellent, all, but Tale featured Christopher Prentice and so provided the synchronicity / serendipity / synthesis I so enjoy. You see, Prentice was also a standout at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival in 2014, an impressive Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing and a perfect Ned in Elizabeth Rex. At Much Ado, in another of those moments in which time bent, folded upon itself, and left me breathless, we read in the program that Prentice is a founding member of the now-defunct Signal Theatre Ensemble, and I remembered that in 2003 he played Benedick in Much Ado, a production my son and I saw at a studio of the Anthenaeum Theatre on the grounds of St. Alphonsus Church in Chicago.
And of course, The Winter’s Tale was also the last play my son and I saw SPC present.
Time bends and folds.
The Shakespeare Project of Chicago will present Cardenio in April.