“Why I Love DSF”: Matt Sullivan

Each month leading up to the 2013 Festival, we will ask a different DSF audience member to share why they love DSF.

We know different people come to the Festival for different reasons, so we are expecting each answer to be unique.

Matt Sullivan – Wilmington, DE

A Summer’s Tale

The summer of 2004 was my first in Delaware, and my wife and I spent most of our time looking for things to do in this brave new world. As luck would have it, I worked at a magazine that wrote exclusively about things to do in Delaware, so finding the Delaware Shakespeare Festival wasn’t all that hard. Finding Archmere Academy in the pre-GPS age? Another story.

We were woefully unprepared for that first show. I forget what I sat on, but I know my butt went numb. We had no food. No wine. And air traffic control in Philly must have been staffed by Christopher Marlowe loyalists, because every 747 on the eastern seaboard flew directly over that production that night. While honking.

Still, it was a great show.

We returned in 2005 and moved with the show to Rockwood Park in 2006, this time with a 6-month-old boy in our arms. (We were much ado about him that year.) In the years that followed, we considered babysitters, but our friends (and by this time, they were friends) at the Festival always made our little family feel welcome. My son cried a bit through Richard III (though not at the right moments), enjoyed the fights in Romeo & Juliet, celebrated Twelfth Night, and helped his brand-new baby sister through Macbeth.

And then, in 2011, The Winter’s Tale. I couldn’t explain much to the boy ahead of time because … well, c’mon, it’s The Winter’s Tale. Not exactly tops of the college reading list. But he was sitting next to me, munching on a cookie as the sun set over Rockwood Mansion. The bear exeunted, stage left. And then Hermione reappeared in the story … as a statue. As the characters debated the merits of the sculpture, my son’s eyes grew wide. He turned to me, and in a voice that wasn’t quite sotto voce, said “Daddy, that’s not a statue. That’s the real girl!”

Confession: I should have shushed him. I didn’t. I was a proud Da Da.

I love the Delaware Shakespeare Festival for taking the most complex, the most important, the most beautiful language ever committed to paper, and for presenting it in a manner and in a place where it becomes accessible to anyone … even a 5-year-old boy, sitting on a blanket on a warm midsummer’s night. That’s Shakespeare. That’s something special. That’s my festival.

“Why I Love DSF”: Doug Doerfler (June 2013)
“Why I Love DSF”: Maureen McCaffery (May 2013)
“Why I Love DSF”: Lourdes Puig and Alicia Bonilla-Puig (April 2013)
“Why I Love DSF”: Carol VanZoeren (January 2013)
“Why I Love DSF”: Deborah Yutzy (December 2012)