What we're about

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players
--As You Like It, Act II

We are Shakespeare lovers of varied backgrounds: actors and non-actors; teachers and baristas, retirees and programmers; people who read Shakespeare all the time and people who haven’t read him in many years. Some of us can do spot-on accents, some can sing, and some are very gifted performers; many of us just gamely read our lines as best we can, and with the best will in the world.

No acting experience is required; just a willingness to read aloud and appreciate Shakespeare’s language. Try it out—we're a friendly group! The beauty of the language, the insights into our human nature, the humor, compassion, anguish and scope of Shakespeare's work make it a treasure that we return to again and again, finding something new each time.

How to Get Started: RSVP to a particular meetup (and please keep your RSVP up to date; let us know if you can’t attend). Bring a copy of the play, if at all possible. To prepare, reading the play or watching a performance are ideal. Or you can read an introduction or a synopsis. Some of our readers practice at home, to get a feel for the language. Regardless of preparation, there will be some confusing lines, and we often have different editions; in that case, just wing it.

What to Expect from a Readthrough: We read the entire play; it takes most of the afternoon. We start by allocating roles. You can volunteer for a particular role that you want. There are usually twelve to twenty or more readers. The roles with the most lines are usually shared. We usually don't follow gender in determining who reads which role. However, at an event host’s discretion, there may be some occasions when gender is matched for a character. Weather permitting during July and August, we meet outside in Volunteer Park.

How This Meetup Group Is Run: The Seattle Shakespeare (Etc!) Readthrough meetup group has five organizers (Aidan, Paul, Kristin, Scott, and Harry). They take turns as “Event Hosts” for the read-throughs. The organizers select plays and library locations, and they update the website information.

How to Use This Web Site: Each meetup date has a place for posting comments about that meetup; these are usually appreciations, greetings, and tips on parking.

If you want to discuss a play or a performance in more depth, or if you want to discuss the group itself, click the “Discussions” menu near the top of the page, and then click “Message Board.”

If you want to find out more about a play (such as lists of characters and how many lines each has), click “More” near the top of the page and then click “Files.”

Upcoming events (5+)

Read Antony and Cleopatra

Seattle Public Library - Columbia Branch

To be determined

Lysistrata

King County Library (Shoreline) Meeting Room

IMPORTANT NOTICE - We will be using the original adaptation by Drue Robinson Hagan entitled "Lysistrata A Woman's Translation". To protect and respect the intellectual property of the author each person will be responsible to purchase their own copy. This can be done at https://www.playscripts.com/. This will cost approximately $15 including shipping. Please make sure to bring your own individual copy. It may take up two weeks to receive your copy from the date of purchase, so act now! There will not be additional copies provided. When you register with Playscripts you will get access to a sample. Of the many translations that are available, we chose Robinson's for the almost Seussian meter of the verse and the snappy Mamet-esque pace which feels in keeping with Aristophanes' outlandish political-sexual-comical play. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s take an ironical look back on the War of the Sexes, and how sex can be used as the means to an end of war. The play is Lysistrata, written by Aristophanes in Athens in 411BCE. This is a very funny play - but be aware it is absolutely filthy and the humor is ribald and lowbrow. It's 411BCE and Athens is locked in the grip of the Peloponnesian War with Sparta. Although the war has been going on for years, things have recently taken a bad turn for Athens: they suffered a serious defeat in Sicily just two years before. Peace is starting to look real good. That, at least, is the opinion of Lysistrata, a middle-class housewife from Athens. The play begins on the day of a meeting organized by Lysistrata. In attendance at the meeting are women from Athens and other cities, including Sparta. At the meeting, Lysistrata announces her plan: the women should all refuse to have sex with their husbands until their husbands end the war. To make sure the sex-strike is effective, they will doll themselves up with makeup and put on their skimpiest clothes, to drive their husbands wild with desire.

Read A Comedy of Errors

Greenlake Library

"Are you a god? would you create me new? Transform me then, and to your power I'll yield." -Antipholus of Syracuse Please join us for a hopefully fast-paced reading of Shakespeare's shortest play, followed by selections from Plautus' Menaechmi (the source of the story) and then a critical discussion. Viewed by many as a frivolous farce and early journeyman work, certainly this play has many distinctive features, not least of which is a fairly interesting hero in Antipholus of Syracuse, whose lines would support reading as a reflective, almost introspective character; but is typically produced solely and successfully for madcap foolishness. See a funny short excerpt here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ll5UK6jhHw And a longer excerpt of a more ambitious RSC production from 1976 featuring Dame Dench: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd-1M2VQnzQ As the play is so short, we will limit reader attendance to 25 RSVPs. It is likely that about 3-6 people who RSVP will not attend, so I encourage the waitlisted readers to attend in expectation of a likely spot. We'll do our best to accommodate all who turn up. After the reading, but before our typical critical discussion, I will provide printouts of speeches from Plautus for volunteers to read cold after the play. Please try to familiarize yourself with the play beforehand and let us know if you have trouble finding a copy. Bringing snacks (or nonalcoholic beverages) to share is encouraged.

Read Richard II

Seattle Public Library - Douglass-Truth Branch

TBA

Past events (302)

Read Caesar and Cleopatra (written by George Bernard Shaw)

Seattle Public Library-High Point

Photos (237)