What’s a bard?

Sounds of harpsichord music, bug spray being liberally applied, soda cans cracking open, lawn chairs being unfolded and buzzing amongst the Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre crowd could be heard.

“It’s a great environment and whole families can come, which is fantastic. It’s easy to enjoy performances out here,” said Raphael Parry, Executive and Artistic Director of Shakespeare Dallas. “We keep our costs low, so we can see a lot of people.”

Overhead lights flashed, programs opened and the 47th season of Shakespeare in the Park commenced.

This was the first time in a decade the park had seen an Othello rendition, one of Shakespeare’s most revered works.

The playbill announced Jamal Sterling as Othello, Caitlin Glass as Desdemona, Lee George as Cassio, and Gregory Lush as Iago.

At 8:00 p.m. sharp, the drama and romance unfolded. Othello and Desdemona were irrevocably in love with Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, unaware. Iago had only an inkling of a plan and Roderigo still had all of his money.

Cast members dashed through the audience with theatrical fervor while dark and sinister music reverberated through the park.

Scenes pass and Iago planted his seed of doubt in Othello’s mind. The jealousy grew and grew.

With each scene change, the audience gave a resounding ovation.

At 9:00 p.m., intermission came, but the tension did not leave.

More soda cans cracked open, bug spray was reapplied and the harpsichord music and buzzing amongst the crowd returned. Families and school groups mingled.

Ten minutes later, the show resumed. The drama and romance amplified exponentially.

The tension continued to grow with each passing scene. Desdemona’s handkerchief landed in Iago’s hand, a major part of his plan. The seed of doubt and jealousy in Othello’s mind spread its roots further. Iago attacked Cassio’s “reputation, reputation!”

The blue overhead light paired with the dark music added a sense of foreboding and dread to the play.

Finally, the last act came. The plot climax had arrived.

Othello succumbed to the false doubt planted by Iago. Slowly, Othello slid next to Desdemona in their bed. Desdemona had grown very wary of her revered husband. Suddenly, Othello’s hands were on his wife’s throat, and her life was slowly sucked away. Next went Amelia at the hands of Othello. Then went Othello at his own hands.

The lights dimmed and the production was over.

Following the end of the show, the cast members took their final bow and exited the stage. Lawn chairs were folded and the audience moved toward the exit in almost unified exodus.

“What Shakespeare started has lived on through the years and it’s important to watch,” Richland College student Dylan Sparks said.

The play will continue throughout September at Samuell Grand Amphitheatre and into October at Addison Circle Park. The schedule of theatre nights can be found online.