Dispatches from June 19th, 2013
9:00 AM: Granola, fruit, and yogurt with Arthur’s grandparents.
Noon: Driving through real live Kansas prairie!
I suddenly understand the trope of gleeful, slow-mo running through fields.
3 PM: Visiting the Booth Hall of Athletics at Kansas University. Arthur’s grandpa is a retired KU professor, and his grandma earned her doctorate there. The two held season tickets to the Jayhawks basketball games for 30 years. As a result, Arthur grew up rooting for Kansas, and I now have a far vaster understanding of the history of the ‘Hawks than of any other basketball team.
KU’s had some very inspirational jocks; among them the fearsomely athletic Wilt Chamberlain, boundary-breaking coach Marian Washington, and the duo of James Naismith and Phog Allen. I also enjoyed learning that, before the Jayhawk, KU’s mascot was a live pig named Don Carlos. And the famous cheer, “Rock chalk, Jayhawk!” began as a Science Club yell about a type of limestone native to KS, before spreading to the sports fans.
6 PM: We set off for Kansas City, armed with bug spray and a blanket.
9 PM: Lounging in the dusk of South Moreland Park for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s production of As You Like It. With lines like “Firm and irrevocable is my doom!” and “He hath strange places crammed with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms,” this cross-dressing comedy of pastoral romance has always been a favorite.
Setting this production in the 1960‘s turned the banished Duke’s court into a groovy hippie commune, herdin’ sheep, embracin’ nature, and singin’ “Hey nonnie nonnie” in decidedly Simon & Garfunkel tones. Plus, the manifestation of the god Hymen in Act V made a lot more sense when spun as a hallucination. Though the fight choreography was mediocre, many of the actors were spot-on, particularly an acrobatic Touchstone (the fool).