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