Bard in the Garden


Each summer, knowing I will get overwhelmed with work if I allow it, I try to plan to occasional special treat to get me out of town and to enjoy something out of the ordinary. Often it’s an evening of music at Blossom Music Center, but sometimes it’s a day trip to Lake Erie or to Amish country — anything to shake me loose from my daily routine.

This year, a casual comment dropped by my new friend Allison about the Ohio Shakespeare Festival piqued my interest. Held at Stan Hywet in Akron each summer, it would be no longer a drive than to Blossom, and since I enjoy theater as well as music, it would be a delightful substitute. So we made plans, bought tickets, and looked forward to the show.

Though I have twice visited Stan Hywet, a beautiful Tudor Revival mansion built for the Seiberling family from 1912 to 1915, and I have explored the grounds close to the house, I had never before wandered down to the Lagoon and the semi-wilderness area below the stone tea houses (one shown above), where the stage was set for the performance.


The name Stan Hywet came from the Old English for “stone quarry,” and you can see that earlier use for the grounds in the straight cuts across the hills’ rock faces. Over a hundred years later, nature has done a beautiful job of reclaiming and softening that landscape.

The performance we met up to watch Sunday evening, The Tempest, fit beautifully into that natural setting. An incredibly agile and fleet-of-foot Ariel had no difficulty convincing the audience that the spirits of woods and water were awake!

We return for Macbeth in August, and I hope to spend more time exploring the grounds then. “Our revels are now ended,” but we’ll have the chance to enjoy such an evening again soon!


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