The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1434 Thursday, 27 July 2000.
Date: Wednesday, 26 Jul 2000 19:35:46 -0800
Subject: Outdoor Shakespeare in Seattle
Kezia Vanmeter Sproat's "New Outdoor Shakespeare in Ohio" post prompts
me to share some good news: when my husband and I moved to Seattle from
Santa Fe about a year and a half ago, one of the few things we missed
were the outdoor productions of Shakespeare in Santa Fe at its permanent
outdoor home, St. John's College (my alma mater). However, we were
recently delighted by the performance put on by Greenstage of "Henry IV
1" at Discovery Park. This is an amateur non-profit organization which
moves around _from park to park_ in Seattle, making sure there are free
performances of quality theater (they do go indoors in the autumn and
While it was, at times, obviously an amateur production (the rhythm of
verse-speaking was slightly off, resulting sometimes in the unfortunate
"shakesbabble" which happens when actors don't quite understand what
they're reciting, and the tempo was on the whole too fast), the overall
quality, passion, and even polish was HIGH. Barzin Akhavan (Hotspur),
Peter Balogh (King Henry), Kimberly Atkinson (Lady Percy/Poins), Donnal
MacEllis (Falstaff), and Jason Marr (Prince Hal) were all
extraordinarily good, particularly Akhavan and Atkinson in their scenes
with each other. Seeing Falstaff at one point exasperatedly outroar
just one last jetliner to successfully deliver an important line seemed
both entirely in character and a modern update of the play. The
direction of this dark, angry, unsettling work was superb, in particular
the blocking of the actors, which sounds like faint praise but you would
have to see some of the striking, expressive yet wholly natural stances
and combination of positions Linda Lombardi came up with to understand.
We're going again to see "Henry IV" performed in another park this
weekend, with a performance the day after of "Much Ado About Nothing,"
with Kimberly Atkinson as Beatrice -- I expect she will be splendid, as
she made a wonderful impression as a charming but passionate and
For those who are in Seattle, the performance is at Woodland Park, "Ado"
on the 28that 8 PM, "Henry" at the same park on July 29 and 30 at 3 PM.
The company has a very good website at www.greenstage.org.