As I Liked It

Seattle Shakespeare

I’ve been a season ticket holder to the Seattle Shakespeare Company’s season for many years now. Last night I saw their “As You Like It” below the Space Needle at the Center House Theater.

I’ve got to say Orlando (Nathan Graham Smith) had a bit of a rocky opening. There are moments in even a good actor’s career when he can do no more than summon his lines. And though this was one of them, the awkwardness moment passed quickly, and Mr. Smith led the play very well indeed.

The story has a rather serious beginning, as all good comedies should. Ray Gonzales and Keith Dahlgren played very credible dukes with lots of slapping around, which added to the drama in the resolution of the play.

Jake Ynzunza portrayed well the oafish wrestler Charles and the bumpkin rube William.  The characters played by Bill Johns and David Klein were not the most interesting, but the actors played their parts very competently, as they always do. Hanna Lass and Rebecca Olson where fabulous as BFFs Rosalind and Celia. Ms. Lass portrayed the lead with the perfect balance of spite and lovestruck ardor that the character requires, and Ms. Olson animated Celia with the humor and steadfastness Shakespeare breathed into the lines.

Everyone did well, though I have to say I was struck by the skill that David Pichette used in playing Jacques, the worldly philosopher who elevates the tale. His “All the world’s a stage” speech was the best I’ve seen. He gave it in the aisle, not three feet from me. I admit, I had to overcome the urge to leap up and wring his hand when he’d finished.

And Darragh Kennan was Wit himself as the wisest of fools. His patter throughout the play – especially with Hannah Mootz (Phebe) – was wonderful. There seemed to be one or two spots where their words got crossed and Mr. Kennan improvised magnificently.

The music, by the way was very well done. I usually read past those lines in the play, but they were delivered so musically they stood out as some of the best parts of the performance.

Once again thanks to John Bradshaw and George Mount, all of the actors and, of course, the Bard for a wonderful evening and season.

A dream of relief

I dreamed I was working on a balcony hanging over a deep narrow chasm, separating two halves of a great city – or perhaps two cities. The architecture was of the post-Romantic period of the late 19th Century. The buildings were spacious, lofty and overtly regligious in nature. Everything was stone, steel or silk. The ladies wore Ophilian; the men Aurthurian.

On this ornate metal balcony I was in the process of tearing a circle of what looked like gold, but felt like soft pita bread. I was exhausted, having toiled at this single task for years. People, elegantly dressed passed me by on their way to enjoy the view from the balcony.

Suddenly and without an sort of fanfare, I managed to separate the two pieces, completing my task. I stood there motionless for a moment examining the two separate pieces alone. I took a deep breath, rose to my feet and rushed from the balcony and into the streets shouting “It’s done. It’s done. It’s done,” I cried over and over and over.  Jubilation slowly swept across the city. I felt, no jubilation. Only relief. Filling my lungs before each announcement, I felt free, as though the shackles that had bound me for a lifetime had been shattered, and I was at last free.