Sunday is the new Saturday

Review of Swansong by Leah M., age 18

Sunday night is officially the new Saturday. Which makes Tuesday the new Friday, June the new October, and my birthday the new Christmas. Seattle Shakespeare Company, nestled deep amongst the overpriced elephant ears of Seattle Center, is the group responsible for these big changes, adding a fifth play to their usually four play repertoire, making space by nestling it in on a non-traditional Sunday-Wednesday schedule. Doing homework is overrated - I promise hanging out on weekdays is the hippest thing this side of hula hoops, and seeing Swansong is the best possible school night option if you’re finally tired of watching Law and Order re-runs.

Tim Gouran and Brandon Whitehead in Swansong at Seattle Shakespeare Company. Photo by John Ulman

Swansong elaborates on the loosely documented relationship between Shakespeare and his rival/bff Ben Jonson. (I’ll save you the post-play Google: Jonson is a real person, all the play lines and poems are real, and no, that is not how Shakespeare really died.) Seven years after Shakespeare’s death, Ben has to write a prologue for the printing of a folio of all Shakespeare’s plays; a vaguely boring premise, made surprisingly engaging through flashbacks, vignettes, and all the characters being drunk in at least ½ of the scenes. The play centers on arguably the most mystical, and most charming of all human bonds, guy love. Leads Tim Gouran (Will Shakespeare) and Brandon Whitehead (Ben Jonson) stick to their mostly one-dimensional character profiles, as the idealistic dreamer and the cynical sour-puss, respectively. The performances are strong, but it’s hard to get completely lost in the play because of the stilted dialog, which slips from present day to faux-Shakespearean for no apparent reason. Separately, if I hear anyone say “O Jesu” one more time, I will personally make them eat an entire copy of Hamlet, but I digress.

Despite its superficial shortcoming, Swansong leaves a good taste in your mouth. There are very few people that remain impervious to tales of friendship, brotherly love, and anything involving the brilliance of Shakespeare, so prepare for your heartstrings to be pulled.


- Tom, the “fiiiiiiive minutes” intermission guy from Seattle Children’s Theater makes guest appearances at SSC.
- Patrick Page, Swansong playwright, used to play Scar in The Lion King on Broadway.
- Tim (Shakespeare) is scruffily handsome, and looks like a young Johnny Depp.

Leah M.
January 13th, 2008

Seattle Shakespeare Company
Through January 23rd
NOTE: This show is running Sunday through Wednesday evenings

More info and show times:
Seattle Shakespeare Company’s ticket office: 206-733-8222
Ticket office hours: Tues – Fri: 1 – 6 p.m. and one hour before curtain Mon, Sat & Sun: One hour before curtain.

Seattle Shakespeare Company is located in the Center House Theatre at Seattle Center. It is served by buses 3,4,5,8,16,19,24,74 and 82. For bus times:

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