Kevin Crawford was astounded in 1990 when the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival produced its first show — “Twelfth Night” — and the comedy attracted more than 10,000 people.
“We were caught unaware! The stage was too small, the sound was too small, and we didn’t have any port-a-lets! We had to scramble for the next show,” says the Shakespearean scholar who happens to have been in all 23 productions.
He’s the title character in this year’s play, “Coriolanus,” which he considers one of Shakespeare’s best and probably his most underrated.
“It always scared me because of its greatness,” Crawford says. “It’s very political, with a theme we can all relate to. The language will remind them of a CNN broadcast.”
Crawford, whose “real job” is as a professor at Reinhardt College in North Georgia, says most people don’t care what play they’re performing. “I would bet most people can’t pronounce ‘Coriolanus.’ They don’t come for the play. They want the picnic, they want the party, the experience.”
Crawford’s hinting this could be his last star turn. “I love it,” he says, “but I need a nap.”
IF YOU GO:
Shakespeare by the Sea XXIII: Coriolanus
Where: Carlin Park, Jupiter
When: 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and July 18-21.
Admission: Free, with a $5 suggested donation
Okay to bring: Blankets, beach chairs, coolers, picnic baskets, and pets on leashes. Concessions on site.