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The half-hour drive from Charlottesville to Staunton, Queen City of the Shenandoah Valley, was a kaleidoscope of fall leaves/foliage colours ranging from bright yellows to vibrant reds.

The Shenandoah Valley in Virginia was the last place I would have considered seeing one of Shakespeare’s plays. How misguided I was! The Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia is one of two authentic Shakespeare theatres in the world, the other being The Globe Theatre in London. Blackfriars Playhouse is a recreation of Shakespeare’s original indoor theatre and is home to the American Shakespeare Center.

We arrived at Blackfriars Playhouse to see the Shakespeare play, ‘Perciles, Prince of Tyre’, with the cast singing and playing their instruments on the balcony to entertain us. This, along with being able to walk on stage to buy a pre-theatre drink was a Shakespearean experience! During interval the same activity prevailed with the actors finishing their Shakespeare lines and heading up to the balcony to sing – fantastic entertainment for a theatre ticket costing $40.

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For those in the audience not familiar with Perciles, the program gave an outline of the story under the heading ‘stuff that happens in the play’. This approach was apparently consistent with Shakespeare’s original productions.

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Leaving the next day we passed a perfect blend of small town charm as we drove to Amish country via the Gettysburg Military National Park.

Historical homes with fall foliage and another with a garland of artificial flowers!

 

The Blackfriars Playhouse

10 S. Market Street

Staunton, VA 24401  USA

www.americanshakespearecenter.com

 

Where to stay (Hotel is right next to Blackfriars):

Stonewall Jackson Hotel

24 S Market St,

Staunton, VA 24401, United States

www.stonewalljacksonhotel.com

 

Words by Jan Knox