Free + Trees + Shakespeare + Griffith Park

The outdoors festival opens with Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer."

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Thursday, Jun 27, 2013  |  Updated 7:28 AM PDT
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Free + Trees + Shakespeare + Griffith Park

Grettel Cortes

A word-lovely rite of an LA summer: The Independent Shakespeare Company's free Griffith Park festival. It opens on Thursday, June 27.

The words "of passage" almost always follow "the rites," at least when one wants to speak in a lofty and high-minded manner.

But rites show up in a lot of other ways, too. Consider the rites of summer, which may mean, for people, the use of a pool, or running through sprinklers, or the eating of frozen treats on sticks.

Add to those summer rites "sitting under an oak tree while watching, for free, thespians Shakespeare it up." Free Shakespeare in the park is a warm-weather classic in cities around the world, including our own, thanks to the Independent Shakespeare Company.

The company, which has taken on "The Comedy of Errors," and "A Midsummer's Night Dream" in the past jumps into its 2013 summer season with "She Stoops to Conquer." Yep, it's several centuries old and nope, it isn't Shakespeare but a play by Oliver Goldsmith.

Opening night is Thursday, June 27 at Griffith Park's Old Zoo. Closing night? Sept. 1.

Fear not -- and we don't think you do, because "Stoops" is an excellent and lively work -- but the Bard is on his way: "Macbeth" bows on Friday, July 5 and "As You Like It" romcoms it up, 17th-century style, starting on Thursday, Aug. 1.

Bardians, please don't take issue with our "romcoms it up" assertion. If we can't say, here and now, that every romcom written after 1600 owes a huge debt to the likes of "As You Like It," then when can we say it?

Wait, were romcoms being written *before* 1600? In huge numbers? Not just roms, but coms, too. Chaucerians out there? Thoughts?

Call it a debate for the picnic blanket you'll spread out at the Old Zoo. And call free Shakespeare, courtesy of ISC, a real rite of summer, both in LA and everywhere. It's nice to have things that tie places together and don't cost a cent.

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