City Desk

Total Bummer: Shakespeare Free For All Moves Inside

An e-mail alert went out yesterday to previous attendees of the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Free For All that it's still on, but it's now on inside and in Penn Quarter at the newish Sidney Harman Hall. That means no more pre-show picnics on the grounds of Carter Barron (the National Building Museum is opening its more limited patch of grass this year), no more waiting in the woods and chatting with strangers before the gates open, no more wrapping up in blankets in the first act's gloaming, no more marveling as the moon appears just when it should during A Midsummer's Night Dream.

I missed last year's rather soft announcement of the death of one of D.C.'s greatest summer pleasures, staged at Rock Creek Park's amphitheater since 1991. Sure: The pros at the STC are still offering their talents to the masses free of charge and, sure, said talents won't be hampered by rain, or cold, or the choking D.C. humidity. But wasn't the weather part of what made the Free For All such fun?

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Comments

  1. #1

    The entire allure of the Free-For-All was the outdoor venue. Sure, it's quality Shakespeare by a quality company, but outdoor Shakespeare is such a summer "thing." Moving it to Harman Hall, while more Metro accessible and likely more accessible to those who can't typically afford WSC productions, makes it all a bit less attractive.

    I know I plan on skipping the Free-For-All this year, sad as it is to admit.

  2. #2

    I'm also disappointed! I loved those Carter Barron performances.

  3. #3

    The Carter Barron performances were fun, but literally half the time I went it was rained out, and some of the times it wasn't the performance was delayed for rain.

  4. #4

    We will miss it. We loved going to Colorado Kitchen (now gone, too) and then over to the amphitheatre. It was special because of the setting.

  5. #5

    this fucking sucks. there is absolutely no point to this other than being in the amazing, gorgeous outdoor venue.
    favorite part: watching the flies/gnats dance in front of the stage lights.
    this is so disappointing.

  6. #6

    Some of my favorite summer memories involve the Carter Barron outdoor Shakespheare. I always made friends chatting in line waiting for tickets and often met up with them for the performance. While nice, it wasn't the "free" that made it special, it was watching such a wonderful performance outside in the summer night. Gorgeous, lovely, perfect...no more. This is how I introduced my kids to Shakespeare. Very, very, sad. Summer will never be the same. I guess you have to live in a great city like NYC or San Fran to have this experience now.

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