Shakespeare in the Living Room


A few weeks ago I received an email from my friend Gerry Bowler. The email contained an invitation to an evening of dining and Shakespeare. The evening would involve the reading of A Miudsummer’s Night Dream, interspersed with Greek food accompanied by some wine.

Gerry and Karen had recently been down in North Carolina spending some time with their  daughter Kate. Kate is on the faculty of the prestigious Duke Divinity school. She’s also a published author with her 2013 release Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel [amazon_enhanced asin=”B00RWPFQF0″ /]. While visiting they had the opportunity to take in a couple of Shakespeare dinner/reading parties. On their return to Winnipeg they decided it might be worthwhile trying such an evening here. This resulted in the email invite. Being a ham by nature, I quite naturally said yes.

We gathered for the evening at the home of John and Wendy Botkin. John and Wendy like many of the people who were gathered that night are friends from my days as a member of Church of the Way. In total, including children their were, I think, 17 of us.

One of the good things about Shakespeare’s plays is that there are lots of parts to go around. Everybody had a part to read with some people needing to double up. I read the part of Puck. Puck being the obliging, sharp-tongued, but ultimately dimwitted and bumbling henchman who creates all the trouble. Curses, typecast again.

One thing that makes such an evening very pleasant is the willingness of everyone to join in with enthusiasm. There were several children pleasant and they led the way. It’s even more enjoyable when so many of the readers have real dramatic flair to their reading.

The high point of the evening was the transformation of Bottom into an ass. Bottom was being read by Roger Berrington, who in his non-acting time heads up CANU at the University of Manitoba. At the time of the change Roger pulled out a horses head mask. Reading the part with the mask on made it funnier.. What put it over the top was the family dog howling and threatening Roger, until he removed the mask.

An ass after the manner of Shakespeare

Roger Berrington, AKA Bottom the donkey.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set in and around Athens. So, in keeping with the setting of the play our meal was Greek. Karen prepared Spanakopita triangles with Dill, Hummus,  and Mozzarella cubes marinated in Olive Oil, Rosemary, Garlic and Peppercorns. Other dishes came from the Greek Market and included.

Shakespeare Spanakopita

Spanakopita and Shakespeare make a great combination. These were made by Karen one of the co-organizers of the evening.

I didn’t manage to get pictures of all the items on the table. There were also, lamb meatballs, Cheese and vegetable skewers, stuffed olives and peppers, stuffed zucchini,  I really enjoyed the Mozarella cubes in the oil mixture. The oil had a bright flavour and texture that worked well against the creaminess of the cheese.

It takes a bit of time to read through a Shakespeare play. However, when the company is lively and the food is delightful, time just seems to slip away. For finishers in the food area we had Kataiti for dessert. Kataiti is shredded fillo pastry with walnuts, and a honey syrup.

Plans are already in the works for another evening in the not to distant future. I can hardly wait.

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