In this hottest Texas summer on record you could be pardoned for suffering a touch of cognitive dissonance when you decide to drive through the beginnings of the Hill Country, 45 minutes southwest of Austin, to attend Shakespeare's last work, set upon a magical island surrounded by the Mediterranean. Wimberley, Texas, is ranch country, and these days the rolling landscape is starkly dry. Even the EmilyAnn's illustration reveals the situation: Laura Ray, portraying magician's daughter Miranda, stands in the low waters of the Blanco River. These days the water is Prospero's refuge and the ocean is the countless miles of sun-toasted ranchland.
The EmilyAnn is a special place, however, something of a magic refuge all to itself. The play begins at dusk, so my wife K. and I had plenty of time to chat with the friendly folk at the ticket window and the concession stand. One strolls through a carefully tended garden on the way to the outdoor amphitheatre. My wife stopped and listened -- one could hear the distinct cheerful trickle of water slipping from pool to pool. With that prelude it became that much easier to enter the agreed meeting place of Prospero's imaginary island.