Friday, August 2, 2013

Shakespeare in the weeds

I honor theater troupes that do Shakespeare in the park — or the parking lot or any other outdoor venue. And that goes also for companies that do Neil Simon or Tennessee Williams or any other theater in outdoor venues. There’s something romantic and homey about spreading a blanket on the ground to watch men slice each other to bits with swords.

Making love on the beach or in the woods is also romantic, but there are mosquitos and chiggers and sticks and rocks, and you get sand and grit lodged in body parts where sand and grit should not reside.

In other words, it’s a cool idea, but Jesus, man, do you really want to sit on the grass for two hours while watching theater amidst countless discomforting distractions?

While watching outdoor theater I have had to put up with:

  • ·         People milling about between me and the stage
  • ·         Children crying or running or fighting
  • ·         Mosquito bites
  • ·         Setting sun in my eyes
  • ·         Bad lighting after the sun goes down (usually about intermission time in the Northwest)
  • ·         Airplanes overhead
  • ·         Motorcycles roaring past
  • ·         Excessive heat, rain and cold

Despite it all, I have enjoyed some outdoor theater and I applaud those dedicated thespians to provide it for us, often free of charge. I encourage readers to patronize and enjoy their efforts, and I recommend bringing folding chairs or cushions. I also encourage companies that put on shows to find a venue with walls and a ceiling, comfortable chairs and decent lighting.

By-the-way, despite my tongue-in-cheek lashing of Shakespeare outdoors I do recommend Animal Fire Theatre's Julius Caeser. This is the final weekend. Performances are scheduled to run Thursdays through Sundays, through Aug. 5. All performances will be at 6:30 P.M. by the Korean War Memorial on the Washington State Capitol campus. Information about how to park for free or use Intercity Transit’s Dash Shuttle is available on the company’s website:

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