Quiz about Watching Shakespeare in the Park
Quiz about Watching Shakespeare in the Park

Watching Shakespeare in the Park Quiz


One of the highlights of a summer's day in New York City is attending a performance of the current Shakespearian production in Central Park. Let's explore the history of this tradition.

A multiple-choice quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
looney_tunes
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
391,032
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
327
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Samntha09 (4/10), Guest 75 (6/10), Guest 75 (3/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. The original name of the festival now known as Shakespeare in the Park was the New York Shakespeare Festival, established in 1954 by which of these directors? Hint

Joseph Papp
Stephen Spielberg
Alfred Hitchcock
George Lucas

2. If you attend a performance that is part of the Shakespeare in the Park season, are you sure that you will be seeing a play from the Bard?

Yes
No

3. How much is a ticket to see Shakespeare in the Park likely to cost? Hint

At least $100 - they are always one of the hottest tickets in town
Anything from $25 to $50 - it depends on the seat
Nothing - they are free
Whatever you want - admission is by donation

4. What time of day are performances scheduled? Hint

Night - 10:00pm start, or whenever it gets dark
Evening - 7:30pm start is usual
Afternoon - 2:15 pm start, as is usual for matinees
Late morning - 11:00am start allows patrons to have a picnic lunch as they watch

5. When the Shakespeare Festival first started putting on shows in Central Park instead of using venues around the city, they did not have a permanent theatre available. Instead, the performances were made in which of these areas? Hint

On the shoreline of The Lake
On the Great Lawn in front of Turtle Pond
Outside the walls of Belvedere Castle
In the Hallett Nature Sanctuary

6. The theatre first used in 1962 for Shakespeare in the Park was named after someone who had made generous donations to assist with the cost of construction. Where will you be heading to see the show? Hint

Delacorte Theatre
Orpheum Theatre
Helen Hayes Theatre
Schubert Theatre

7. Which play, dealing with themes of vengeance and mercy, was the first Shakespeare in the Park production in their new permanent theatre? Hint

Coriolanus
The Merchant of Venice
Othello
King Lear

8. In 1997, it was officially declared that the entire works of Shakespeare had been produced at Shakespeare in the Park. The presentation of which play (with surprisingly few lead female roles) led to this declaration? Hint

Julius Caesar
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Henry VIII

9. Which of these plays, whose title is thought to be a Biblical reference, had the most productions during the first 50 years of Shakespeare in the Park? Hint

Measure for Measure
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter's Tale
Troilus and Cressida

10. The first production in 2017 was a controversial reworking of which Shakespearian play, set in contemporary Washington, D. C. instead of ancient Rome? The title character, who is killed fairly early on in the piece, seemed to be a parody of the man who was at the time the President of the United States. Hint

Hamlet
Julius Caesar
King Lear
Titus Andronicus


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The original name of the festival now known as Shakespeare in the Park was the New York Shakespeare Festival, established in 1954 by which of these directors?

Answer: Joseph Papp

The other three are known as movie directors, not as passionate advocates of making Shakespeare accessible to the general public. Joseph Papirofsky (1921-1991), professionally known as Joe Papp, established a group called The Public Theatre in the former Astor Library Building in lower Manhattan.

This organisation had the primary aim of fostering new young talent, and was responsible for the original production of a number of shows which subsequently had successful Broadway runs, including 'Hair' (1967), 'A Chorus Line' (1975) and 'Hamilton' (2015). Papp also started promoting Shakespeare, and his 1956 outdoor production of 'The Taming of the Shrew' in the East River Ampitheatre received critical attention that helped him establish what was to become a long-running tradition.
2. If you attend a performance that is part of the Shakespeare in the Park season, are you sure that you will be seeing a play from the Bard?

Answer: No

While the primary focus is Shakespeare, most summers also feature one or more non-Shakespearian productions. There have been a few years (such as 1977 and 1980) when there was no Shakespeare at all. In 1970, both plays were from the dramatic series 'The Wars of the Roses', which were adapted from Shakespeare's work. Over the first 60 years of the festival, over three quarters of the shows have been Shakespeare plays.
3. How much is a ticket to see Shakespeare in the Park likely to cost?

Answer: Nothing - they are free

The full name of the festival (as of 2017) is Free Shakespeare in the Park, and that is exactly what Joe Papp insisted on. When he was told that early performances in Central Park were causing damage to the grass, and he needed to charge admission to cover the cost of maintenance, he fought tooth and nail to preserve free admission.

Since they are indeed one of the hottest tickets in town, people start lining up to wait for tickets as soon as the park opens, at 6am. Tickets (a maximum of two per person) for that day's performance are handed out from the theatre at noon. There are also now some online ways of entering a lottery to win a ticket without actually being there in person. Virtual winners (or holders of free vouchers that are distributed at specific locations in each borough) who have not claimed their tickets by half an hour before the start of the show will have their tickets redistributed to those patiently waiting in the standby line.
4. What time of day are performances scheduled?

Answer: Evening - 7:30pm start is usual

While the actual starting time has varied somewhat over the years, the tradition of an evening performance has been constant. This allows patrons to complete their day's work (if necessary - tourists don't have to take that into consideration) and have a meal before enjoying the twilight performance. A daytime performance would also mean excessive exposure to the summer sun!

If it is raining, the show might still go on - a judgment as to safety is made, and I have sat through some shows in a light drizzle, wishing it would be polite to put up my umbrella, but aware that those seated behind me would not be pleased.
5. When the Shakespeare Festival first started putting on shows in Central Park instead of using venues around the city, they did not have a permanent theatre available. Instead, the performances were made in which of these areas?

Answer: On the Great Lawn in front of Turtle Pond

The Great Lawn is a large flat piece of ground with an area of around 30 acres. The pond now called Turtle Pond was at that time called Belvedere Lake, in reference to the castle on its Productions there were on staging set up for the season, and patrons sat on folding chairs or spread their blankets on the ground as they watched the shows.

It was this area that the parks commissioner declared was being damaged by patrons (although one might argue that the baseball fields also set up in the area may have had some influence on the soil compaction).

When Papp took the matter to court, the commissioner finally gave in, and managed to get funds from the city (and private donations) to build a theatre for future use.
6. The theatre first used in 1962 for Shakespeare in the Park was named after someone who had made generous donations to assist with the cost of construction. Where will you be heading to see the show?

Answer: Delacorte Theatre

While Helen Hayes was one of the people who assisted Papp in his campaign, it was George T. Delacorte, Jr (1894-1991) and his wife Valerie who made significant financial contributions. They also provided funds for a number of other Central Park features, including the George Delacorte Musical Clock, and sculptures of 'Alice in Wonderland', 'The Tempest' and 'Romeo and Juliet'.

The founder of Dell Publishing and a graduate of Columbia University, Delacorte's donations to his Alma Mater helped establish the Delacorte Professorship in the Humanities and the Delacorte Professorship in Magazine Journalism.

The Delacorte Theatre, which seats 1800, is located on the southwest corner of the Great Lawn.
7. Which play, dealing with themes of vengeance and mercy, was the first Shakespeare in the Park production in their new permanent theatre?

Answer: The Merchant of Venice

This first production featured George C. Scott as Shylock, and James Earl Jones as the Prince of Morocco. James Earl Jones was to be a regular participant in Shakespeare in the Park, returning in 1964 to perform the title role in 'Othello', appearing in 1965 both as Junius Brutus in 'Coriolanus' and as Ajax in 'Troilus and Cressida', portraying Claudius in Hamlet (1972) and once again in a title role in 'King Lear' (1973).

The first season also included 'The Tempest' and 'King Lear'. Other notable actors to appear in Shakespeare in the Park productions include the following (for each of which only one performance is listed, although many of them have multiple credits): Sam Waterston in 'As You Like It' (1963), Olympia Dukakis in 'Electra' (1964), Raul Julia in 'Titus Andronicus' (1967), Stacy Keach in 'Henry IV: Part I' and 'Henry IV: Part II' (1968), Martin Sheen in 'Romeo and Juliet' (1968), Meryl Streep in 'Henry V' (1976), Dianne Weist in 'Agamemnon' (1977), Richard Dreyfuss in 'Othello' (1979), Kevin Kline in 'The Pirates of Penzance' (1980), Denzel Washington in Richard III (1990) - and another truckload, apologies if I didn't include your personal favorite!
8. In 1997, it was officially declared that the entire works of Shakespeare had been produced at Shakespeare in the Park. The presentation of which play (with surprisingly few lead female roles) led to this declaration?

Answer: Henry VIII

'Julius Caesar' was part of the first season in 1956; 'Titus Andronicus' was first presented in 1967, and 'Timon of Athens' in 1971. While the entire canon has been officially declared to have been presented, this is not quite accurate. The versions of all three parts of 'Henry VI' that were presented did not use the Shakespeare text, but were adaptations made for the series 'An Age of Kings'. Still, they felt like Shakespeare!
9. Which of these plays, whose title is thought to be a Biblical reference, had the most productions during the first 50 years of Shakespeare in the Park?

Answer: Measure for Measure

With productions in 1966, 1976, 1985, 1993, 2001 and 2011, this comedy is a sure-fire crowd pleaser every time it is produced. The 1966 season featured 'All's Well That Ends Well', 'Measure for Measure' and 'Richard III'. In 1976 it was 'Henry V' and 'Measure for Measure' (with a cast that included John Cazale, Meryl Streep and Sam Waterston). The 1985 season included a non-Shakespearian entry, 'Drood', a musical by Rupert Holmes based on the Charles Dickens unfinished novel 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'. 1993 was a season of comedy, with 'Measure for Measure' and 'All's Well That Ends Well' sharing the bill. In 2001 the second production was Chekhov's 'The Seagull', directed by Mike Nichols and featuring an all-star ensemble cast: John Goodman, Marcia Gay Harden, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Kline, Larry Pine, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken. The 2010 production of 'Measure for Measure' included Al Pacino in its cast.

The phrase measure for measure is considered to refer to the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 2:2 reads, 'For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.' This particular translation is the King James Bible, published in 1611, shortly after the play's first performance in 1603 0r 1604.
10. The first production in 2017 was a controversial reworking of which Shakespearian play, set in contemporary Washington, D. C. instead of ancient Rome? The title character, who is killed fairly early on in the piece, seemed to be a parody of the man who was at the time the President of the United States.

Answer: Julius Caesar

Directed by Oskar Eustis, this production included a Julius Caesar (played by Gregg Henry) whose appearance and mannerisms, along with his Slavic-accented wife, certainly seemed designed to bring Donald Trump to mind. Much of the public outrage was based on the fact that Caesar is assassinated, so the production was seen as encouraging the assassination of the president.

However, those familiar with Shakespeare's play (and history) will be aware that the attempt to keep an apparent would-be dictator from gaining control and ending the republic went awry, and led to the eventual installation of Octavian as the first Roman emperor. Thus, it can be seen as a cautionary tale against using violence to achieve ones goals.
Source: Author looney_tunes

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor ponycargirl before going online.
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