Utah Shakespeare Festival – Cedar City, UT

bard

My sister and I recently attended the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, UT. Though the drive from Salt Lake City is kind of a drag, the festival is worth the long hours in the car.

This year's plays
This year’s plays

After arriving in Cedar City, we stopped at the Pastry Pub to get a snack. This charming restaurant is located a few blocks away from the festival and they serve amazing chai shakes.

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The Pastry Pub
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Inside The Pastry Pub

We walked around the festival grounds and enjoyed looking at the various statues of Shakespearean characters. We also checked out the information near the ticket windows about Shakespeare’s history cycle. It was being presented as part of the festival’s “Complete the Canon” project.

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Juliet
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Juliet, up close
King Lear
King Lear
Fallstaff
Fallstaff
Titania
Titania

A fun part of the festival experience is a visit to the Sweet Shop, where we were looking forward to ordering an Irish jacket potato and vegetable and cheese pasty, along with one of the famous fruit tarts. However, the menu has changed, and overall, it’s a bit of a disappointment. Pasties are no longer available, and baked potatoes can only be ordered as part of a Greenshow picnic meal, rather than ala carte. The tarts tasted different this year as well—the dough seemed saltier and tougher.

The Sweet Shop
The Sweet Shop
Now serving Diet Mountain Dew, Shakespeare's favorite!
Now serving Diet Mountain Dew, Shakespeare’s favorite!

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A highlight of the evening is the play orientation with festival founder Fred C. Adams. He always provides interesting historical contexts and insights into the evening’s plays. At the time Shakespeare was writing “The Tempest”, reports describing the “new world” were coming back to England from the Jamestown colony, which provided inspiration for the bard’s final play.

Greenshow dancers
Greenshow dancers

We also attended the Greenshow, a 40-minute song and dance program on the green and the courtyard surrounding the Adams Shakespearean Theatre. As always, it was very crowded. During this time, there were other people in period costumes throughout the courtyard, including “wenches” (both female and male) selling tarts and other treats, and a performer doing period woodworking.

Old-timey woodworking
Old-timey woodworking

The play itself was wonderful. I love “The Tempest”, and Henry Woronicz was wonderful as Prospero. The entire cast did a wonderful job, and the set design and special effects were top notch. Some excellent and detailed reviews of the play can be found here.

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Before the show (no photography is allowed during the play)
Before the show (no photography is allowed during the play)
An exterior view of the theater
An exterior view of the theater

After the play, we headed to Marie’s French Bakery & Bistro which was open till midnight (what a great idea!). The man working there greeted us with a friendly “Bon soir,” and was pleased when we responded properly (by repeating the same thing back to him). I ordered a key lime tart and a chocolate éclair, both of which were excellent. The prices were reasonable, and we’ll definitely stop there again the next time we’re in town to see a play.

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festival

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Millcreek Venture Out – Salt Lake City, UT

Millcreek Venture Out is a fun event held every Friday evening during the summer (June through August) in the East Millcreek neighborhood of Salt Lake City, UT.

I visited this evening at around 7:00 pm, mostly for the Farmers Market where I got some pesticide-free tomatoes, and a bag of apricots. The apricots came from a fruit share program operated by Green Urban Lunchbox. They’re a non-profit program “that focuses on issues pertaining to urban agriculture, sustainability and food security.” Their mobile greenhouse was pretty cool.

The Farmers Market also featured arts and crafts, food vendors (I highly recommend the Nutella crepes), henna tattoos, a petting zoo (with cute baby goats!), and live music. A different movie is shown every week at dusk.

The complete schedule can be found here. If you’re in the area, it’s worth checking out.

Cruising the Nile – Egypt

Along the Nile River, the scenery is ever-changing.  The calm, lazy water is a dark grayish green, often brightened by a passing felucca with its large white sails billowing in the breeze; or even a Nubian boy, paddling a tiny wooden rowboat by hand while singing a cheerful sailing song in surprisingly good English.
On one side of the river is the Sahara, stark and desolate, its pale golden sands burning in the sun.  On the other, lush green palm trees and farmers’ fields, where people use cattle to plow, and move crops in carts pulled by donkeys.
The farmland gives way to unfinished brick cities, full of tall, roofless buildings topped by the massive satellite dishes that went out of fashion 20 years ago in the US.  The old dishes often keep company with animals, such as goats, chickens, or geese in rusted cages.  Some of the buildings have been plastered and painted, creating a bright spot of eggshell blue or cherry red among the sun-bleached cement and brick.
At dusk, the hazy gray sky burns yellow and orange as the sun sinks into the glistening silver river.  Away from the city lights, the palm trees and desert sand dissolve into the eerie blackness of 4000 years ago.  All is still and silent, but only for a few moments, until the deck lights chase away the specters of Isis and Osiris, and it’s happy hour for the rest of the night.

Pictures can be viewed as a slideshow here.

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