I am so naïve about Shakespeare in the Park. When I was forming my game plan for getting tickets to this season’s production of The Merchant of Venice, I asked a friend what time I should arrive for tickets, thinking that 7 a.m. would suffice. She replied, “You’ll have to camp out all night.”
“What?!” I replied. My shock was in reaction to two points: 1) the notion of having to sleep on the street all night for tickets to the show and 2) the fact that it appeared I’d forgotten what happened last year. I missed out last summer with Twelfth Night and vowed to shun the free production this year out of anger. “I’ll show them!” But much like one in an abusive relationship, I came crawling back.
I’d never read or seen a production of Merchant before, and wasn’t too intrigued by what I heard of the story. I’m also not a huge fan of Al Pacino’s (who stars as Shylock in this production). But with last year’s Twelfth Night debacle, I was supposed to pick up a ticket for my mom, and she, like the rest of my friends and myself, was incredibly disappointed when we didn’t get tickets. This was my year to make it up to her.
I made up my mind to forgo a night of sleep and comfort and take the Shakespeare in the Park plunge. But if I was going to do this, I was going to do it well. I wanted to beat this game, so I arrived at the line on Central Park West at 2 a.m. (Central Park doesn’t officially open until 6 p.m., so until then, ticket hopefuls must line up here.) Yet even at this aggressive time, there were still about 150 ahead of me! The line began on Central Park West at 81 St. and stretched to 85 St. at 2 a.m., which is where I set up shop.
Sleeping on the street is such a bizarre experience. This varies with every person, but with me, there isn’t much sleeping. So between nodding off for 10 or 15-minute intervals and zoning out, time becomes a dreamlike blur. Although a hazy experience, it luckily makes the hours not seem such a hardship. Read more
I love Anne Hathaway. Like, love her. So when I heard she was doing Shakespeare in the Park’s Twelfth Night this summer with Raul Esparza, my other favorite actor, I couldn’t contain my excitement. In fact, I tweeted on April 15 “Raul Esparza has been cast in Twelfth Night, which is already starring Anne Hathaway. I’m getting in line NOW!” Little did I know I should have followed through with that tweet.
On Sunday, I was shut out from getting tickets to the performance. Unfortunately, it was the production’s final show. I know, I should have planned to do the famed Central Park rush earlier in the run, but due to scheduling conflicts, this is the way it worked out. But I took precautions. I arrived at 5:45 a.m.—a time I thought might even be over ambitious. But as the eternally long line of ticket hopefuls moved from Central Park West into the park (Central Park is technically not open to the public before 6 a.m.), line monitors of the Public Theater cut off the line when it reached a certain point, allowing no one else to join. There were already more people than there were tickets available, they said. After asking people who just made the cut off what time they arrived, I learned that on this particular day, unless you arrived at 4 a.m., you were out of luck. Read more