What Are People Doing? Seattle Shakespeare

Every week the Town Crier blog looks back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening, and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “Miss Pollock spoke of ‘Experiences and Opportunities in France’” and, “Mrs. Castlen, one of the active promoters of horseback riding in the city, carried off the blue in the polo class and was the only woman competing against the army officers.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

“Next week the Shakespeare fans are going to have their innings and there will be a whole week given over to the plays of the immortal Bard of Avon at the Metropolitan,” wrote the Town Crier on May 7, 1921. Seattle’s love of Shakespeare, then and now, certainly can’t be denied. 

It’s been documented that Shakespeare wrote some of his plays from home during the 1603 outbreak of bubonic plague. Would that we all had the resolve to write a masterpiece right now—but second best to that is watching some of the Bard’s plays in action. Luckily, Seattle Shakespeare Company has us covered. They’ve put together a collection of streaming options for viewing Shakespeare performances at home, and have partnered with local artists to present “Ruff Reads” of classic plays. And for those who want to put on their own productions, they’re even offering resources for teaching Shakespeare’s work.

Of course, the ‘Crier had its own idea of what a good performance looked like. “John E. Kellerd comes again with his company and those who have heard him will remember the delightful simplicity with which he reads his lines. In his creed, ‘The Play’s the Thing,’ and he never smothers it with upholstery and mouthings.” A high bar to beat, indeed.

“Incidentally, you’ll be surprised to see the number of Shakespeare devotees in this town. ‘Best people,’ you know, and all that sort of thing.” 

Stay healthy, all you best people out there.

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