I don't know when the first people in line arrived in the park that day, but the kids and I were there by 9:00am. We were pretty far back in the line, but close enough to the front to be confident we'd get our tickets, plus extras for our neighbors who we asked to join us for the show.
We spread out the picnic blanket, and pulled out our diversions. I brought along a book (My Antonia by Willa Cather), my nature journal, and pencils. The kids brought the same, plus a deck of cards. We walked to the little cafe by the ticket office to buy our breakfast. Other people in line ordered their breakfast from a deli nearby, and the delivery guy found them in the crowd. And, I suppose, the organized folks in line bring their own food.
After eating, the kids ran to the Pinetum nearby, where there are swings with long chains, the kind that make you feel like you're flying. They explored the Turtle Pond and counted 50 turtles before returning to the picnic blanket to tell me. They practiced capoeira in the grass, and soon some ladies (and not young ones!) joined them and had a cartwheel contest. I spent the time with my book and with my drawing of a lady's thumb plant I plucked from among the weeds growing along the fence behind me.
My daughter performed in As You Like It with a children's theater group last fall, and we all know the play well after seeing it many (many) times. It's fun to know a Shakespeare show that well, but it's even more fun to see our progress over the years with Shakespeare. We've come a long way from when I first read Midsummer's Night Dream in Lambs' Tales with my oldest child, when she made paper dolls for the characters and acted out the scenes with the dolls as narration. (My husband still doesn't like Shakespeare, however, and I'm guessing he never will, except when his kid is in the show, and even then he's nodded off. Gotta love the guy.)
At 1:00pm, everyone in line stood up and walked to the ticket booth to pick up the free tickets. In the evening, we returned to see the show. Then, late at night, we went home. My daughter and I talked about the play with our neighbors on the subway ride home, and my son fought from falling asleep.