Every year, except during COVID-19, the Public Theatre holds Shakespeare in the Park.
In 2021, the Public Theatre presented Merry Wives – a Celebration of Black Joy and Vitality from July 6 through September 20 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
The Merry Wives is a fresh adaptation by Jocelyn Bioh of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Saheem Ali.
Merry Wives was set in South Harlem. The characters were all West African immigrants. I thought the acting was superb. There was a dual storyline that gets connected at the end of the piece. It was funny, exciting, and predictable but extremely fun!
It was wonderful to finally see a live performance after the COVID lockdown.
The organizers had a section for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Cards needed to be shown in order to get into the vaccinated section. Unfortunately, I thought the unvaccinated had better seats.
The seats are free but you need to enter a lottery in order to get them. Our tickets were all the way on the last row in the back. I found it difficult to see and get engaged in the production. I found that people seated further down got into it more.
The other thing I wasn’t happy about, was that we were all packed in like sardines. With the Delta variant prevalent, it made me nervous.
I found that walking through the middle of the park to pick up the free tickets and then coming to the middle of the park in order to see the show hours later, was a bit of a hassle. When we asked the ticket person if we could get the best seats, she gave us the last row on the side. When we were seated, we saw plenty of open tickets in the center and in the unvaccinated side.
Would I recommend seeing it?
I loved watching the live show. The actors were excellent and the production and set were very cool. Each change of scene ran smoothly. My only complaint, the uncomfortable seats and the closeness to other showgoers. Otherwise, I would absolutely recommend it.