MONTGOMERY, Ala.—As ticket takers at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival nudged the crowd of some 300 ticketholders to their seats one recent evening, they promised the show, Nanta, “a cooking event,” would begin at 7:30.
It was a lie, but not a mean one, a southern one—a partial story light on facts. The setup ensured everyone would sit down for a round of homage-paying to the person whose company has sponsored many of the plays held here, one of the nation’s top regarded Shakespearean playhouses.
In an instant, cocktail sales collapsed, triggering the quick chugging of half-consumed drinks.
Inside the theater, some swells already were lined up across the stage to pour praise onto Young Deuk Lim, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Upon coming here in 2002, the Korean company forged a civic partnership with the city by helping fund the arts, particularly plays performed at ASF.