Thursday, May 19, 2016
Volunteering with Seattle Shakespeare
Last weekend, I went to see the brilliant Seattle Shakespeare production of Romeo and Juliet (comments posted here). Today, I took the day off of work and volunteered as an usher at one of their matinees, thereby 1) evading work for a day and 2) getting to see Romeo and Juliet a second time just by helping out a little. What a GREAT day!
I arrived at Seattle Center a bit early, not knowing what the experience would be like. From the beginning, the signs boded well for an enjoyable experience:
Walking into the theater and not as a member of the audience felt very different. OK, this may sound strange but the theater felt...pregnant. Full of possibility.
Now I'll make another comment that may sound strange. The actors reminded me of computer programmers. Not from some sense of deep geekiness or because I heard some cast members discussing SQL queries during intermission but because of their laser-like focus while watching off stage, waiting for their next scene. Much like developers focus in on their monitors as they work, I could see the actors watching everything happening on stage intently. It was awesome and I felt a sudden kinship with them. (Maybe their occasional distracting audience members are like the people who like to wander by developers and interrupt, asking why they're so quiet)
From the beginning, I wondered what I would be asked to do. Would I be taking tickets? Helping to move stuff around?
No. They asked me to guard the weapons.
Today's matinee was for a number of local schools and there was some concern that some of the high school boys would suddenly grab a rapier and start playing with it during the beginning, end or intermission. Granted, asking me to watch the swords was a bit like using a fox to guard a hen house. But I want to make this a recurring volunteer gig and so I kept the high schoolers and even my own self from playing with the swords.
After the play, we ushers made a few passes through the seats to tidy things up. I found myself strangely sad that the day was over. I may have been the lowest minion around but I felt a little bit like I had helped make something awesome happen.
One last note: Romeo and Juliet's run ends in three days. If you have the option, I can't recommend seeing this play highly enough!