“The first time I visited the Delacorte, I was with my mother, and we saw Raul Julia in Othello. I must have been twelve years old. At one point during the performance a giant white egret took flight. The image was stunning—for the play, of course, with Desdemona dying, but it was also just so insanely beautiful to be in the glow of the city, in the warm summer air, with that magnificent bird rising against the evening sky.
Since that first visit, I’ve been on the Delacorte stage many times doing Shakespeare in the Park. Once, during a particularly sinister monologue in Cymbeline, the audience started laughing, and I had no idea why. Then I looked to the side and saw a raccoon on the set just staring at me, as if he was watching the show.
I live in New York City because it’s a cultural epicenter—and at the heart of the city is Central Park, and in the heart of that park is the Delacorte. It’s one of the greatest things in the world that something so professional and expensively produced is free and offered to all New Yorkers. To me, it seems that the theater is a gift from New York to itself.”
Liev Schreiber stars in Ang Lee’s film Taking Woodstock, out this month. The Bacchae, starring Jonathan Groff, is being performed at the Delacorte Theater August 11–30 (publictheater.org; free tickets available on the day of the show).