Yesterday I went to go see Romeo and Juliet, staged by Canstage - The Dream in High Park. It was nice to sit outside (albeit on a slant, which made my butt go numb every 15 min. or so) and take in all the surroundings - cool breeze, chirping crickets, and watch one of the Bard's masterpieces.
What I found, though, is that going to a production of Shakespeare is a little like going to church (or other place of worship, however, I am only familiar with the Catholic/Christian version). First, you psych yourself up to go. "I'm going to go and see Shakespeare; it's been awhile since I've read/seen any of his plays, and it will be good for me - I need to balance out the fluff I've been watching" (Legally Blonde, anyone?). Then, as the play begins, and you can't really follow what the actors are saying, you think, "Oh man, why did I come? I like that fluffy stuff for a reason - it's fun and I can understand it. My high school/undergrad days are behind me; why do I have to torture myself with this when it won't be on the test?" Midway through, you start to get used to the language, and can generally follow along; however, you find yourself fading in and out, wondering what to make for dinner tomorrow, where to go on the weekend...Oh, Tybalt is slain, better snap out of it and watch...FOCUS! At the end you clap - Hurrah! 5 min. more (especially if they bloody well say that word "banished" again with the accent on the "-ed" and you'll grab the poison from Romeo...just kidding ;) You leave with a sense of calm dignity, "It was right I went to this production; I feel like I increased my braincells tenfold", and immediately chastise yourself for not going to more Shakespeare performances.
But if anyone asks you to a production of King Lear in the near future, feign sickness. You CAN do it, you SHOULD do it, but you know in the back of your mind that Shakespeare is like church...twice yearly (Christmas, Easter) is about as good as it's going to get.