Guide on the Go: All Things Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Theatre Company's Free for All production of "The Taming of the Shrew" features Sabrina LeBeauf (Sondra on "The Cosby Show"). Also at Sidney Harman Hall is an all-day Family Fun Fair, including the opportunity to rehearse scenes from the Bard's works.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company's Free for All production of "The Taming of the Shrew" features Sabrina LeBeauf (Sondra on "The Cosby Show"). Also at Sidney Harman Hall is an all-day Family Fun Fair, including the opportunity to rehearse scenes from the Bard's works. (By Scott Suchman)

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

It would appear that starting Saturday, D.C. has hit the mother lode of all things Shakespeare. Between multiple free performances and an all-day festival, anyone in search of a Bard fix should be satisfied.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company is doing its part with the first weekend of its 19th annual Free for All. This year's performance is "The Taming of the Shrew," following the relationship of the sassy young Katherina and her haughty suitor Petruchio (who happens to have questionable intentions). Some might even notice a familiar face in the cast as Sabrina LeBeauf, who played Sondra on "The Cosby Show," will be starring (although sadly, Petruchio will not be played by Alvin). This is the first year that the production will be held indoors, moving from the picnic-friendly Carter Barron Amphitheater to the still-sparkling interior of Sidney Harman Hall. Tickets to any of the 22 performances can be picked up at the box office on the day of the show.

Noon and 8 p.m. Saturday-Sept. 12. Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. 202-547-1122. http://www.shakespearetheatre.org.

You won't have to go far for a kid-friendly all-day celebration. The company will also be hosting a Family Fun Fair at the same location. Activities include arts and crafts, demonstrations and prizes, plus kids can get in on the play action by designing sets, auditioning and rehearsing scenes for Shakespearean plays.

10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday. Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. 202-547-1122. http://www.shakespearetheatre.org.

Another long-running free theater production will also be underway this weekend during Olney Theatre Center's Summer Shakespeare Festival. The National Players will present an evening performance of another romantic comedy, "Much Ado About Nothing," in the center's outdoor amphitheater. The play has all the trademarks of a Shakespeare tale, from a faked death to an evildoer who sets up a "Three's Company"-style misunderstanding. This being a comedy, though, expect a happy ending with your picnic.

8 p.m. Saturday. Olney Theatre Center for the Arts, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. Olney. 301-924-3400. http://www.olneytheatre.org.

On the other hand, the Bard has famously shown how the whole miscommunication thing can yield dire consequences as well. Greenbelt Arts Center is presenting just such a play during its Shakespeare on the Green performance of "Othello," in which the title character is convinced by the jealous Iago of his wife's infidelity. The outdoor production is the first of two plays, the second of which starts in September: "Two Gentlemen of Verona" (with an all-female cast).

5 p.m. Saturday-Sept. 6. Greenbelt Arts Center, 123 Centerway, Greenbelt. 301-441-8770. http://www.greenbeltartscenter.org.

-- Stephanie Merry


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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