Shakespeare Theater Free For All: All’s Well That Ends Well

pic courtesy of We Love DC

Until September 5, The Shakespeare Theater will continue their over twenty year tradition of offering free tickets to their summer show.

By lottery or first-come-first-served basis, the theater is giving away tickets to their so-good-it’s-back production of All’s Well That Ends Well.  Tickets can be had for free by enrolling in the online lottery or by standing in line during a hot afternoon in Chinatown.  The choice is yours.

The show ran for the first time a couple years ago, and reappears as an uproarious yet at times tragic comedy.  From the show playbill, “After the death of his father, Count Bertram of Rossillion is called to Paris to serve the King of France. The King is deathly ill, and the physician who might have cured him has died, though not before leaving his medical secrets to his daughter, Helena. Bertram’s mother, the Countess, regards Helena as a daughter, and discovers that her recent melancholy has been caused by her unrequited love for Bertram. Hearing of the King’s illness, Helena decides to follow Bertram to Paris, where she will attempt to cure the King.”  Love eventually wins out (it’s a comedy after all) but only after some Cymbeline-like pain and loss.  Anyone who’s ever felt the awkward weight of insecurity at a high school dance will empathize with the Bachelor-esque dance scene in the first act.

As in other Shakespeare plays, a miniature storyline echoes the main characters.  The Countess’s servant, Levatch, woos the maid Isabel, only to disdain her after he spends time at court and fancies himself above her, just as Bertram believes he is too far above Helena to accept her complete adoration.  But love wins out in the end: Helena schemes her way into Bertram’s heart and Levatch is left alone.

Look out for saucy gestures to bring out the innate sexuality in Shakespeare’s lines.  Levatch, Bertram’s friend Parolles and Diana’s mother all use NSFW gestures that set the house roaring with laughter.

As well as being free to those who win the lottery or stand in the long, long line, tickets are also given out by city councilmembers.  So if you can’t get tickets, check with your councilmember, citizen.

The showtimes vary but last about three hours, with an intermission.  Hurry and see it (you won’t regret the investment) before September 5.

Written by Haley Fults.

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