My camera and the computer are fighting, so I don't have any Cedar City pics to put up yet. But here's the brief trip recap (eighty-seven years later).

We got to Cedar City and checked in--we stayed at The Anniversary House, just a block or so away from the festival. The owner, Nan, was incredibly nice and even fixed us up a special tray with sparkling cider, champagne flutes, and chocolate-dipped strawberries as a "Happy Anniversary" surprise. She also had chocolate cake and goodies out in the dining room at all times along with a fridge full of bottled water and sodas.

The mistake we made was in scheduling an evening play during our one-night stay. So we didn't really get to appreciate the room, or the treats that were sitting out, or the DVDs you could borrow. Instead we staggered in around 11:30pm, were too full from dinner and the summerberry tart at intermission (mmmmm . . . tarts . . . ) to give the chocolate cake more than a glance, went to the room and crashed because we knew we had to be up for breakfast at 8:30am. Poor planning on our (read: my) part.

The play was great, though. We saw Much Ado about Nothing in the outdoor Shakespearean-style theatre. But first we watched The Greenshow. It was Irish Night, apparently. (Unofficial title: Where two guys will do cheesy comedy in quasi-Irish accents until 5 minutes in when they forget to do the accents anymore.) Scanning the crowd, GH spotted a group of attractive, 20-something Mormon-looking girls.

GH: "Hey, that's you and your friends, isn't it?"

Me: "Yep, pretty much."

GH, still looking around: "Aaaand there's another group. And another one . . . and another one." He was starting to laugh at this point.

Me: "Yeah, it's called being cool and coming to the Shakespeare Festival with your friends. It's what cool girls do."

GH: "Wow, I should have been coming here all these years with my guy friends. Who even knew this was the place to meet all the English major girls?"

So, guys, now you know. Cedar City in the summer is the place to pick up the smart chicks. And the competition shouldn't be too fierce, since we checked out the guys who were there in groups and let's just say that not many of them seemed . . . that interested in the women around them. Just saying.

Anyway. Back to the play.

The production was great. I'd show you a picture of the stage, but apparently it's copyrighted and one of the ushers made me promise to delete the image from my camera. Don't ask me how you copyright grapevines . . . but whatever. I love this play because I love me some Beatrice/Benedick romantical sparring action. I've seen it a couple of times before onstage and I've seen the Kenneth Branagh film where they somehow thought Keanu Reeves could play a villian (bless his heart, you need facial expressions to be villianous, sweetie . . . ). GH had never seen this play before, but he really enjoyed it after the few minutes it takes to get your "translate from Shakespeare" gears moving.

I must say that David Ivers is sort of replacing Brian Vaughn as my Shakespeare Festival boyfriend. Between his role as Benedick in this production and the 100+ characters he played in The 39 Steps the next day, he was kind of a rock star. Everyone else was good too and I got a tart during intermission. 'Nuff said.

Then came the staggering back to the b&b and the passing out. Breakfast the next morning was quiche, sausage, melon, juice, and coffee/tea/hot chocolate. I enjoyed the quiche and melon but skipped the sausage because it did not appeal, as it resembled a greasy pre-packaged hockey puck. I very thoughtfully made hot chocolate for both GH and myself, but didn't realize that the hot water kettle wasn't turned on until GH took a sip of his. Woops.

There was a pregnant woman and her mother at our table for breakfast, so as soon as her mom and GH left the table (one to go put on makeup and the other to get a few more minutes of sleep) she and I immediately began talking the pregnant talk (specifically, What Is Even Going On With Our Boobs). It's amazing how the commonality of being pregnant means that you're suddenly chatting gaily away about nipples with someone whose name you don't even know.

After checking out, GH and I drove up to Cedar Breaks to see the lookout. Then after way too much ice cream at Maggie Moos it was time for The 39 Steps. It was funny, but I swear it wasn't as funny as some people thought it was. The play opens with Brian Vaughn sitting in a chair, doing a mildly amusing opening monologue about how bored he is with life. And so help me, there were people shrieking with laughter at pretty much every single line. I have no idea. Were they just so happy to be out of their homes? I felt like I was caught in one of those 1970s British sitcoms they show late at night on PBS where Judi Dench does something completely normal like blinking and they blare the laugh track up to 11 and you're just imagining all these sad supposed British people falling on the floor in the studio audience, gasping for breath. And you wonder what must be so very wrong with their lives.

That said, the play was very funny and cleverly done. There were only 4 actors. Brian Vaughn played the lead, a 1930s British man named Richard Hanney who is plunged into a world of intrigue after a mystery woman shows up, mentions important government secrets about to be stolen out of the country, and is then murdered in his apartment. Three other actors (Carol Linnea Johnson, Aaron Galligan-Stierle, and David Ivers, my boyfriend) play all the other parts. At one point David Ivers played a loud, swooping, over-the-top landlady and did his absolute best to make his costars break character. He got Johnson--she had to turn her face away from the audience to try to compose herself. But he couldn't get Brian Vaughn, even when he brushed his large false bosom across Vaughn's arm flirtatiously. Because that is called professional, madame. A lot of the laughs came from the way they handled the set, which was very sparse and deliberately low-budget-looking. Characters in wheeled chairs were pushed onstage by unseen hands, deliberate set-changing goofs were included, that sort of thing. There were also lots of Hitchcock references and in-jokes, which were fun to spot. And there was one cell phone ring. Of course.

After the play it was time to head home. Our trip was over too quickly, I think. In a perfect world we would have stayed another night and watched Pride & Prejudice, which also got a lot of good buzz. But it was still lovely, and I believe GH had a good enough time that I could probably convince him to go back with me.


goddessdivine said... [reply]

I love Kenneth Branagh. I show that version of Much Ado to my students (to contrast w/ Romeo and Juliet). It just makes me smile every time.

april said... [reply]

have you seen the "shakespeare retold" series that bbc did? their "much ado" and "macbeth" episodes are really good. you can watch it instantly on netflix.

glad you had a nice anniversary.

Kelly said... [reply]

It's not stalker-y to ask which room you stayed in, is it? It's more because I'm thinking of a getaway the next time we're in Utah. Though by then we might have a little one tagging along (knock on wood) so maybe not so good for the romantic getaway.

Much Ado has always been one of my favorites, and I fully admit to being introduced to it via the Kenneth Branagh film. That man can do Shakespeare. Even if he is kind of a jerk in real life. Whatever, Emma Thompson got Greg Wise in the end so I call that a win.

emandtrev said... [reply]

Wow, that sounds like an amazing time. I need to plan to make the trip to Cedar City sometime (maybe next year)? We shall see. I also loved the part about commonality with pregnant women. It made me laugh and nod--so true.

I'm glad you had a wonderful weekend away!

Mrs. Clark said... [reply]

Sounds like a perfect getaway. Even if you did arrange for the play when you could have been in your lovely room. I'm envious!

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]


I mean, awesome that the owner's name was Nan. I mean, that is like the coolest name ever.

Seriously, though, awesome trip. If all of the cards fall in my favor I may go to Ashland in October to see Pride and Prejudice. Keeping fingers crossed.

HAH said... [reply]

I was in Cedar last weekend and LOVED DAVID IVERS! He was brilliant in both Much Ado and and 39 Steps. Wish I'd gone earlier in the season so that I might have had time to see Much Ado twice. :-)

MJ said... [reply]

You think it's crazy talking about nipples with a complete stranger, just wait til you actually have that baby! Then you can talk about how well your epidural did (or didn't) work and how LONG you had to push, and whatnot. It's fun. :)

So glad you guys had fun, and I totally agree with you about Keanu Reeves. I mean, he was great to look at, but he canNOT do Shakespeare.

Nemesis said... [reply]

April, I'm a big fan of the Shakespeare Retold series. I think my two favorites are Macbeth and Taming of the Shrew. I never watched the Midsummer Night's Dream because I heard it was the weak one.

Kelly, we were in the Oceanside room, which was nice. There was another B&B in town that I tried to book because it was a little fancier (with jetted tubs and the like) but it was full. It's called A Midsummer's Inn, and you might want to take a look at it as well!

Nells-Bells said... [reply]

LOVE much ado. so jealous you were able to go to the festival and see it! sounds like you had an awesome anniversary getaway. and yes, us pregnant woman love to talk about our boobs and everything else that is expanding during pregnancy. here's to saggy boobs (post-pregnancy) and saggy everything else. ;)

Shelbi Jia said... [reply]

I am proud to say I am one of those twenty something college students who attend the Shakespeare festival. I agree that David Ivers was a hoot in MAAN! Also, you didn't miss anything in Pride and Prejudice. I couldn't believe how...awful it was. People shrieked with laughter there too, but I definitely didn't get it.

In other news, I am really excited about you and GH moving down south! You can bet that I will come on over. And possibly babysit.

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