What was popularly known as Shakespeare in the Park carries on in 2009, but this time the setting is inside: at the Sidney Harman Hall in Penn Quarter. Once a year the Shakespeare Theatre Company produces a show at no cost to patrons. This is the event which used to be held way up on 16th Street NW at Carter Baron Amphitheater. It's free for the general public. Anyone; you me, your kids, neighbors or your mother-in-law. Who ever. Enter the theatre and see a full on, A-list production at no cost. The Free For All (the official name) is one of the best mid-summer treats for us Washingtonians. I feel fortunate! Not every city has it this good.
This year's production is The Taming of the Shrew. If you don't remember the CliffNotes version of this play (I know you didn't real the whole thing in high school), here's another brief synopsis. There will be no less than 21 free shows put on by the company. The fist was last night and the final performance will be on September 12th. For the entire schedule, click here. Tickets are available on at the box office of Harman Hall (610 F Street NW), beginning two hours before the show. Last night the line stretched around the corner onto 6th Street almost making it to E Street; more than a block long. And that was before 5:30.
Tomorrow there is an extra reason to go downtown. The STC is putting on a family fun fair from 10:00am-5:00pm. There will be activities for the little ones like getting your photo taken with the Bard, crafting, games, giveaways and other demonstrations. In a bid to recreate the picnic atmosphere of past Free for Alls, you'll be can bring your own food and camp out on the west lawn of the National Building Museum, just another block down on F Street. With 21 performances, I'll be sure to get to one. I've yet to visit Harman and can't pass up a FREE chance to do so. See you there!