So we're always excited when the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival season arrives.
If you haven't heard of the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, it's a unique experience. Actors from the area perform a pair of the bard's plays in beautiful outdoor locations throughout the region. For free.
And the only thing better than Shakespeare is free Shakespeare.
The festival comes to Lake County this weekend with a performance of Measure for Measure on Saturday, July 6, at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site and The Two Gentlemen of Verona on Sunday, July 7, at Penitentiary Glen.
Both shows begin at 7 p.m.; and they are outside, so it's recommended that you bring a blanket or lawn chairs.
Also -- not to belabor the point -- both are absolutely free.
Shakespeare billed Measure for Measure as one of his comedies, but that classification might be oversimplifying it. It has a darker tone than, say, Taming of the Shrew or Gentlemen of Verona.
The play deals in some lofty issues of: pride, humility, mercy, justice and truth.
Its famous line and overlying theme is, "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall."
If you want a primer, Wikipedia's not a bad place to start.
Meanwhile, The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a more straightforward comedy. It's also one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. Some think it was his first.
It features a lot of the tropes and themes that will later become commonplace in Shakespeare's work: issues of loyalty and fidelity, comedic sidekicks and heroines dressing as men. (Cross-dressing has long been a staple of British humour.)
So see one of the shows. Watch them both. Bring a picnic dinner with you.
Enjoy Shakespeare in some of the most beautiful settings Lake County has to offer.
And, if you like Shakespeare, we have pretty much everything he ever wrote if you want to borrow it.