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Read Timon of Athens
Have you been feeling disappointed with your fellow man lately? Do you ever feel exhausted by the effort to maintain an optimistic, positive outlook on humanity? Wouldn’t you like to- just for a short while- indulge in some passionate Shakespearean negativity? Oh boy, do I have a play for you! Of course, Shakespeare being Shakespeare, its not all negativity, this play is balanced by a joyful, healthy portrait of domestic bliss and redemption. Oh, wait, no it isn’t. Wrong play. This is Timon. Pretty much all sour I’m afraid, even the happy parts. But it is a lot of fun. What great streams of curses, what invective! Timon is Lear squared with the cynicism and self-pity but unlike Lear he never loses his marbles- even at his sour end he keeps his wits about him. Here he is on taking his leave of his home, his ‘polis’, Athens- “…let me look back on thee….. wolves…. Matrons turn incontinent! Obedience fail in children! Slaves and fools- pluck the grave wrinkled Senate from the bench and minister in their steads! To general filths convert o’ th’ instant green virginity! Do it in your parents eyes! Bankrupts hold fast rather than render back- out with your knives and cut your truster’s throats! Bound servants steal! Maid, to thy master’s bed, thy mistress is o’ the brothel! Son of sixteen, pluck the lin’d crutch from thy old limping sire, and with it beat out his brains! …. “ If you have perhaps recently seen a really flat production of this play, I’d say give it another chance. For me, it is one play that is far better ‘on the page than on the stage’. Shakespeare the playwright really only gives us one vivid character here, Timon, but Shakespeare the moral philosopher is swinging for the fences and the plays themes do seem modern and timely. Timon may be more caricature than character, but caricature is useful… this play can give you a lot to think about.

Queen Anne Branch of the Seattle Public Library

400 W. Garfield St. · Seattle, WA


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What we're about

Public Group

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.”

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