All's Well That Ends Well

Note special time of 1:30pm!

The room might be free earlier, but there's another group in the morning so if you arrive at the normal time you might have to wait around. If only there was something to read in a library... hmm...

Location and logistics:

We'll meet at the Capitol Hill Branch of Seattle Public Library at 425 Harvard Ave E in the meeting room. (This event is not sponsored by the Seattle Public Library.)  See here for directions: http://www.spl.org/locations/capitol-hill-branch/cap-getting-to-the-branch. Metro buses  8, 9, 43, 49, 60 serve this branch, and there is free covered parking under the building (enter and exit the garage on Harvard Ave East), though I hear it's often taken. 

We can bring food into the meeting room as long as we clean up afterwards.  

Bring a copy of the text if you have one, if not we usually have extras and can share.  Though it's not necessary to read the play before hand, it will help you follow (and understand your character) to at least be familiar with the plot.  

Synopsis: (spoilers!) 

HELENA (473 lines), the orphan daughter of a famous physician, is the ward of the COUNTESS (281 lines) of Rousillon, and hopelessly in love with her son, Count BERTRAM (273 lines), who has been sent to the court of the KING (386 lines). Despite her beauty and worth, Helena has no hope of attracting Bertram, since she is of low birth and he is a nobleman. However, when word comes that the King is ill, she goes to Paris and, using her father's arts, cures the illness. In return, she is given the hand of any man in the realm; she chooses Bertram. Her new husband is appalled at the match, however, and shortly after their marriage flees France, accompanied only by a scoundrel named PAROLLES (366 lines), to fight in the army of the DUKE OF FLORENCE (19 lines).

Helena is sent home to the Countess, and receives a letter from Bertram informing her that he will never be her true spouse unless she can get his family ring from his finger, and become pregnant with his child--neither of which, he declares, will ever come to pass. The Countess, who loves Helena and approves of the match, tries to comfort her, but the distraught young woman departs Rousillon, planning to make a religious pilgrimage.

Meanwhile, in Florence, Bertram has become a general in the Duke's army. Helena comes to the city, and discovers that her husband is trying to seduce the virginal daughter of a kindly WIDOW (66 lines). With the connivance of the daughter, named DIANA (136 lines), she contrives to trick Bertram: he gives Diana his ring as a token of his love, and when he comes to Diana's room at night, Helena is in the bed, and they make love without him realizing that it is her. At the same time, two lords in the army expose Parolles as a coward and a villain, and he falls out of Bertram's favor. Meanwhile, false messengers have come to the camp bearing word that Helena is dead, and with the war drawing to a close, Bertram decides to return to France. Unknown to him, Helena follows, accompanied by Diana and the Widow.

In Rousillon, everyone is mourning Helena as dead. The King is visiting, and consents to Bertram marrying the daughter of an old, faithful lord, named LAFEU (275 lines). However, he notices a ring on Bertram's finger that formerly belonged to Helena--it was a gift from the King after she saved his life. (Helena gave the ring to Diana in Florence, and she in turn gave it to her would-be lover.) Bertram is at a loss to explain where it came from, but just then Diana and her mother appear to explain matters--followed by Helena, who informs her husband that both his conditions have been fulfilled. Chastened, Bertram consents to be a good husband to her, and there is general rejoicing.

Oh, and a CLOWN (193 lines) wanders in and out of the plot, just doing his thing.

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  • Aidan

    It was well; it ended well. Looking forward to Lear!

    1 · April 27, 2014

  • Barbara

    The usual wonderful time was had by all.

    April 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Drat - between missed bus connections, not finding a copy (which I thought we had at home, nor could I find in two bookstores along the way, and other stupid stuff, I couldn't make it toady. Hopefully, next time will be possible! Sorry about the no-show.

    April 26, 2014

    • Nancy E.

      Oh, too bad, sounds frustrating! Hope to meet you next time - it will be King Lear.

      April 26, 2014

  • Robert

    See you next time, folks.

    April 26, 2014

  • James A. A.

    Goldstar.com has 1/2 price King Lear tickets! At Seattle center the next few weekends... I'm going Friday May 2, 730

    April 22, 2014

    • Barbara

      You'll be impressed....It's a very solid production.

      April 26, 2014

  • Cassie P.

    It turns out, as of the Fri afternoon, is that I will be there tomorrow, but, as I'm going to the Met in HD which estimated to be out just before 2, I'll head up to the Hill and be there 2:15-2;30...appreciate if someone saves me a part. Or lets me do a decent part in a later act.

    April 25, 2014

    • Aidan

      Glad you'll be able to make it! I'm sure we can re-arrange the parts as people arrive and make sure everyone gets a chance to chase or be chased.

      April 25, 2014

  • Annika

    Darn it, I've doublebooked myself for this day and on top of that have much to do before leaving for a long trip soon. Disappointed to miss another one of these before I leave town. Guess I'll see you all in a couple of months. Have fun reading!

    April 25, 2014

  • James A. A.

    discussion afterward?

    April 24, 2014

  • Paul K.

    Certainly.

    April 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Do I need to bring a paper copy of the work? Are roles assigned beforehand? What if more readers than roles attend?

    April 24, 2014

    • Nancy E.

      Also, don't worry about which edition you use. There are often differences bween editions, but we just wing it.

      April 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks - I was just planning to read using a tablet and the online edition from shakespeare.mit.edu. If the group has a standard or better approach, just let me know.

      April 24, 2014

  • Olivia

    Does anyone have an extra copy of the play they can bring?

    April 23, 2014

    • James A. A.

      Large print would be appreciated

      April 24, 2014

    • Nancy E.

      The place where it's easy for me to get copies, UW Library, doesn't generally have large print books. I can try to avoid the tiny print ones, though. Seattle Public Library carries large print books but I think not for this play. I would expect people can go there for themselves. (You can request particular copies to be sent to your nearest branch for pick-up.)

      April 24, 2014

  • Paul K.

    The title of the play is a truism, but profound, as some of us with our life's experiences can attest. I get the sense we don't know for sure if the play's ending is designed to assure us the end was "well": Bertram, Helena, the King, and Epilogue speaker all make their final statements as "if statements" [masked]). Yet the one we have to be most concerned about, Bertram, responds very tenderly and apparently with grave sincerity of denial to Helena's self-deprecating statement of her being a shadow of a wife--"The name and not the thing." [masked]). I see Bertram's subsequent if statement in that light, and as questioning his own worthiness and needing her acceptance which he wants, and I see Helena's if statement as giving him that very assurance. The brevity of those statements shouldn't mislead us to an easy, opposite conclusion. So perhaps it does end well, and perhaps all will be well, but we're still left with having to ponder it.

    April 23, 2014

  • Laurie

    See it twice! Tomorrow night - Will's birthday - is Pay-What-You-Can (even $1 is okay), and Barbara will be attending then. Another option is to purchase a Groundling button for $10-one-hour-before-show tickets. The thread Barbara started on the Message Board (which few people seem to subscribe to) would be a good place to discuss the interest that several members have shared regarding a readthrough of King Lear in the very near future. http://www.meetup.com/shakespeare-50/messages/boards/thread/43410752… It lost to AWTEW in our last vote for our next readthrough, and will be scheduled for May 10 only if it wins a vote or by executive decision. An off-weekend is possible, if there is interest, but you need to let us know. Scheduling can be difficult, but I am personally interested in hearing from people, who simply do not want to miss reading this one. Lastly, King Lear in Port Townsend is worth the drive for those, who love this play. http://www.keycitypublictheatre.org

    1 · April 22, 2014

  • Cassie P.

    HI all,. I've said yes, I'm coming, but I'll probably be late.. that's the same day as The Met's HD of Cosi fan Tutte.. I'm going to be there later in the afternoon, so, if you might save me a role.. or let me do a role that was started by someone earlier, I'd love it.

    April 17, 2014

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We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

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