Shakespeare finds a summer backdrop in Berlin

The Guardian, August 15, 2012

It is dusk in Görlitzer Park and a brawny King Henry VIII is standing at the top of a giant metal slide, wearing just his crown, a giant medallion and skimpy white leggings.

Down below an audience of about 400 people are laughing at the free spectacle, part of Berlin‘s version of Shakespeare in the Park.

It’s an interesting choice of venue for the Bard. The sprawling, scruffy park has long attracted its own cast of local characters, from punks, drug dealers and students to Turkish families who gather here to grill and picnic.

It is in the heart of the alternative scene, multi-ethnic Kreuzberg, an increasingly trendy district in the throes of gentrification. Soaring rents and a proliferation of bars and hostels catering to tourists have given rise to resentment in some quarters.

So when hordes of Shakespeare enthusiasts appeared in their midst last summer, not everyone in the park laid out the welcome mat.

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