Nathan's birthday is in October. When he was a kid, he thought Halloween was his own special holiday.
This year we wanted to celebrate with a spooky date night, similar to our perfectly spooky date a few years ago. For that date we went to a historical cemetery to watch an outdoor performance of Hamlet under a full moon. That's hard to beat.
After dining at a great Italian restaurant with some dear friends, we all headed to a live play performed by The Baron's Men in Austin, a local theater group that performs Elizabethan plays true to their historical origins.
The setting was naturally spooky. The theater is built on private property, so the journey there was unusual. We followed a narrow road carved through craggy hillsides and winding through the sprawling estate.
As we drove through the grounds, we passed signs stating, "Turn right for the carriage house" or "Turn left for the castle" and "Turn here for the village" or "Go straight for the theater".
Seriously? What kind of place was this?
The theater was nestled under some majestic trees, near the lake shore bordering the estate. Torches lit the parking areas and costumed ushers collected our tickets. We could hear the bats flying overhead as the night darkened and shadows deepened around us.
The theater was a replica of Shakespeare's original Globe Theater, with balconies surrounding an intimate stage. The setting was magical in its own way, making me wish I was dressed in historical clothing.
Here is the view of the theater seating.
The play itself was perfect for Halloween. It was a collection of over a dozen of spooky scenes collected from the writings of the Elizabethan era or earlier.
Shakespeare's dark scenes were there: Hamlet's paternal ghost haunted the stage, MacBeth's cackling witches danced around their smoking cauldron, and Othello's murderous deeds filled the stage with screams. We were enthralled with Beowolf's classic battle with Grendel the dragon and witch curses cast in their original Norse language.
I love the contagious energy that radiates from a live stage performance! It's so magical and captivating. We really enjoyed the acting (even though I admit it was too violent for me...I prefer non-murderous entertainment. One Greek play was performed where everyone on stage was stabbed to death in a frenzied bloodbath. Yuck!).
The costumes were breathtaking and the special effects were disturbing, especially with the rampant murder scenes where everyone onstage dies of stab wounds.
Nathan's friend is Austin's reigning expert on creating fake blood. He supplies all the haunted houses and stages in Austin with blood that he makes at home. It's crazy realistic...disturbingly so.
Anyway, he had free tickets to the play and gave them to us.
(Thanks again, Edwin!)
Ever wonder how to make fake blood? Are you itching to make your own? See Edwin's tutorial video for making professional stage blood here: