Sunday, July 15, 2012

Great day! Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival, day one

The Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival is like Christmas, or maybe the World Series. Don't plan any other events during that time, because my Sweetie, the official scorer, and I are booked.

Saturday was the first day of this year's festival, and all three productions we attended hit the mark.

The cast of The Winter's Tale Saturday at Volunteer Park.
The first show of the day was The Winter's Tale, performed by the Seattle Shakespeare Company's Wooden O and directed by Mary Machala. My Sweetie isn't crazy about this particular text, but enjoyed what they did with it. I think it's a cool story, and this production featured marvelous performances all around.

Especially fabulous was Therese Diekhans, who as Paulina did some boisterous lecturing of King Leontes. Look up "speak truth to power" in the dictionary and you'll find Paulina's picture there, as she calls the king a dolt for his obsessive jealously. We also loved her in recent turns as Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor and as Volumnia in Coriolanus, both at Seattle Shakes.

Speaking of stubborn idiot kings, Mike Dooly and Michael Patten were super as Polixenes and Leontes, and we loved David Quicksall as Antigonus and especially as the pickpocket and swindler Autolycus. The Winter's Tale is a super production.

I missed Theater Schmeater's production of Hansel and Gretel, as I was doing a stint in the festival's information booth. Mostly we informed people of where the restrooms are (two choices: behind the stage or in the red-roofed building) and what play was next, though we did get one question about what exactly a goatee is. For the record, we got it wrong, but from here on out we'll know that a goatee is technically a beard just on the chin with no mustache.

Anyway, armed with that knowledge I'll see H&G on Sunday and report back, but my Sweetie enjoyed it!

Action shot! Kate (Allison Standley) lands a good punch
during a fight with Petruchio (Tom Dewey) during The
Taming of the Shrew Saturday at Volunteer Park.
The evening was closed out by The Taming of the Shrew, produced by GreenStage and directed by Mark "Mok" Moser. The play had a good-sized audience laughing throughout. Tom Dewey and Allison Standley played the protagonists Petruchio and Kate. Their acrobatic fight scenes were great, and both proved pretty handy with a whip. (Crack!) Nick Edwards was a riot as Grumio, Petruchio's dim-witted and frequently flogged servant. Really, the entire cast of 10 actors were fantastic.

You don't want to miss Shrew--my Sweetie expects we'll watch it many more times this summer.

The Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival wraps up Sunday with seven more shows starting at 11 a.m.; the complete schedule is on the website for GreenStage, which produces the festival. We'll see you out at Volunteer Park. Or, if you want to catch The Taming of the Shrew, it plays in Seward Park at 7 p.m., and Winter's Tale will be on Sunday evening at 7:00 at Luther Burbank Park.

Disclaimer: Weisenheimer is doing marketing work for GreenStage, but it doesn't make me biased!

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