By Carol Tannenhauser
He made it. Not with his girlfriend Georgia by his side to see “Hamlet” as he had planned, still, Vivian Walsh stood triumphantly at the head of the line in Central Park early Tuesday morning to get a ticket for “The Tempest.” The play is the latest and last production of the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park, before the Delacorte Theater closes for a two-year renovation at the end of the season on September 3rd. You can see “The Tempest” every night through then.
Walsh’s journey to the front of the line began in Kilkenny, Ireland, led to London, then to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1999, for a creative director’s job. “Then I transplanted to New York City,” he said, with a lovely Irish accent. “I met Georgia in the foyer of The Ludlow hotel on the Lower East Side where I live and she was staying.”
WSR: How does it feel to be first in line?
VW: It feels great, because I have tried to do this twice already. Georgia was visiting from Australia where she lives — she left a few days ago. We came here totally confident that we’d be able to get in. But they were between shows. Big disappointment, very sad.
VW: Then, they sent me an email saying they were gonna start again with “The Tempest.” I thought, okay, here’s my chance. She’s gone back, but at least I can send her some videos, and at least one of us will see it. So I got up at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, got my bike, rode all the way up from the East Village, brought my coffee and my flask, and nobody was here. I asked somebody who had made the same mistake and they said, “Mondays are dark.”
VW: So I said, okay, I’m gonna have one more stab at this and there’s no way I’m leaving here today without a ticket. So I got up here at 5:30 this morning. This very pleasant young man comes over to me. It must be his summer job. And I thought, well, at least he’s wearing a Shakespeare in the Park t-shirt. And he said, “I’m sorry, but the park doesn’t officially open till six. We have to have you wait outside the gate.”
VW: He came back at six and brought me in. There were one or two people here, but he said, “You’re front of the line, don’t worry.”
You can catch “The Tempest” this week only, as noted. For further information click here.
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