Spotted in Seattle: New Trend at Shakespeare in the Park

Wooden O
Wooden O camps up "The Comedy of Errors"

Top o' my list of things I love about Seattle: Two (two!) Shakespeare companies putting on free plays in parks all over town every summer. I gorge myself on a total of four plays—for free!—usually accompanied by five or six friends, blankets and multiple baskets of food and beverages. Soaking up the weird, convoluted brilliance of Shakespeare while decanting Cabernet from a Nalgene bottle? Summer's here!

After about a decade of this, you develop a sort of strategy; which parks have the best viewing, the clearest sound; which days the smallest crowds, the easiest parking. You also develop a list of delicious squish-proof foods that you can whip together in the brief interlude between work and the park. My current fave: the bowl ampitheater at Mercer Island's Luther Burbank park on a Thursday night. On the menu: goat cheese pizza (improvised by this non-cook on a pre-made Boboli crust), strawberries and a crisp white.

Rain be damned, I'll be there tonight. Wet grass keeps the crowds down, but does nothing to dampen the actors' enthusiasm. Tonight's line-up: Macbeth, by Wooden O, which is also staging a camp-tastic Vaudeville/musical version of The Comedy of Errors (you've got to see it to believe it). Also around town: Greenstage's The Tempest and Antony and Cleopatra.

Comparing notes with our arts editor, Brangien Davis, who spotted a new trend at Macbeth last week: Audience members reading along with the plays on their digital readers. OK, fine, but don't take your eyes off the actors for too long. The bard is always better in the park than on the page.

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