I moved to Staunton, Virginia a year ago last week for a number of reasons, but primarily so I could go to plays at the Blackfriars Playhouse. I’d been driving 4 1/2 hours each way from Raleigh every few months to see three shows in a weekend, so when a good Latin-teaching job in a neighboring county was advertised, I jumped at the chance to live a block and a half from the theater and go whenever I like. In my first year in town, I saw 105 performances of 17 different plays, or roughly two per week, not counting unstaged readings and MFA productions. (The Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare Studies program at Mary Baldwin College is closely associated with the American Shakespeare Center, and the MFA students put on several shows per year at the Blackfriars. I went to all four shows of their As You Like It: it was that good.) It’s time I started posting about what I have seen.
My qualifications for theatrical reviewing are questionable: over the years I’ve read a lot of plays, mostly ancient, seen only a few until I moved here, and acted in none. I’ve also read very little, theoretical or practical, about post-classical drama. However, I won’t let that stop me. First up: Merry Wives of Windsor, later today.