There's something quaint and elegant about seeing Shakespeare Dallas' summer shows on the grassy lawn of the outdoor amphitheater at Tenison Park. Even if you're wearing cut-offs and flip-flops, and picnicking on Slim Jims and Mike's Hard Lemonade, it still counts as high culture. Goodness knows, in our crass, Snooki-fied world, a little more art helps balance things out.
So stick an ice-pack in your pocket (it's what the actors do to beat the heat) and get out to Cyrano de Bergerac and As You Like It before July 23. They do shows every night but Monday (park opens at 6:45 p.m.; show starts at 8:15 p.m.; all tickets are $10). And if you need more reasons to go:
10. As an outdoor show with alcohol (tote your own or buy it there), the productions at Shakespeare Dallas this year are shorter, safer and easier on the eardrums than Bonnaroo or Coachella. Big plus: Clean indoor potties.
9. Hotties abound in both plays. Gorgeous Dallas actress Lydia Mackay, as Roxane in Cyrano de Bergerac, brings heaving girl-cleavage, if you like that sort of thing. Beau Trujillo, playing Orlando in As You Like It, has a P90X torso and a big talent for speaking in iambic pentameter. (That's him in the photo.)
8. This As You Like It is set in 1930s Spain, so the blah-blah is broken up by wild gypsy guitar music (by local composer Newton Pittman) and crazy-sexy flamenco dancing by Delilah Buitrón, aka La Musa Flamenca.
7. If you hate Shakespeare, note that Cyrano was written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. By Shakespeare Dallas standards, it's practically a hot new play.
6. While watching Cyrano, it's fun to make bets on whether the enormous fake nose glued to actor Chris Hury's face will melt off before intermission.
5. If you get bored during the plays, you can make out on your blanket with your date and no one will care. First base only.
4. In As You Like It, it's fun to listen for words and phrases you didn't know came from the Bard. Example, "all the world's a stage" and "forever and a day."
3. Shakespeare is funnier with background noise of sirens, airplanes and cicadas.
2. If you make friends with the people around you, they'll share their wine and pie when you run out.
1. It's cheaper than Medieval Times, but you can still drink, eat with your hands and watch cute guys swordfight.