The Medford conference was a total bust. It was exactly as dismal as I expected it to be... actually, not true, it was more dismal than I expected. I know in large part you get out what you put in, you find what you're looking for, etc. but in some cases things really do genuinely suck, and I believe this was one of those things. When I arrived there were around 30 people there, 3 of whom were male. 2 of those 3 men were over 60. The one young man was in a wheelchair and looked about 12 years old. The worst part of these events isn't the ratio of men to women, or the small number of attendees. It's the aura of depression and desperation that surrounds the whole affair. The people look as though they've never seen the sun, don't believe in love and expect the worst to happen at any moment. I only stayed about an hour and a half and it was so hideous I couldn't make myself go back the next day.
Conversely, the Festival was AWESOME as always. I saw 3 plays, all of which were superb. It made me miss my days on the stage :) My favorite was the musical, She Loves Me. It was everything the conference was not, bright, vibrant, energetic. Granted, it was fiction, but I remember thinking as I was watching that it would not be possible to be unhappy watching that show. It was perfect, 10 out of 10. If only real life were so effervescent.
This is the Elizabethan Theater where I saw The Merchant of Venice. The photos were taken with my phone, so sorry for the suckiness, but you get the idea :) It was absolutely perfect weather for outdoor theater, warm and breezy. I'd never seen The Merchant of Venice before, but I read it a few days before I left, wanting to be prepared. I'm inclined to think Shylock gets a bad rap. I'm not saying I condone his actions or lifestyle, but I can understand why he does what he does, and Antonio is a bigoted douche. I'm just saying.