Round 2: Season Character Bracket Battle

Bracket Battle Round 2

The battle for favorite character raged over the weekend and ended with some surprising results!  Enobarbus edged out Lepidus to move forward in the next round and Dr. Rank upset Krogstad in a close call. Berowne pulled from behind to beat out Holofernes and Grumio made a last minute comeback to unseat Mama Baptista.

The best blow out of Round 1 was Kate from The Taming the Shrew who won 90% of the votes. The Cinderella story of this battle is Anne-Marie from A Doll’s House! This character had only two scenes and only a handful of lines, yet she beat out Torvald and now goes up against Mrs. Linde in Round 2. Can she make it to Round 3?  Only you can decide.

The battles to watch this week pit friend against friend (Nora vs. Dr. Rank and Petruchio vs. Grumio) and sister against sister (Kate vs. Bianca).

Who’s got what it takes to go all the way?

Voting for Round 2 closes on Friday, March 29.

Click here to view a larger version of the brackets in a new window.

Want your favorite to win? Be sure to share our 2012-2013 Season Bracket Battle on your social media and get your friends to vote as well.


Antony and Cleopatra


A Doll’s House


Love’s Labour’s Lost


The Taming of the Shrew


Vote for Your Favorite Character in Our Bracket Battle

Bracket Battle

It’s basketball tournament time and the brackets are out, so we have decided to create a little competition of our own. It’s your chance to cheer on and vote for your favorite characters from the plays in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s current season. Each play will have an ultimate winner who will go up against the winners of the other plays until a final victor is chosen. Will Cleopatra beat out Nora from A Doll’s House? How about a battle between Don Armado from Love’s Labour’s Lost and Petruchio from The Taming of the Shrew?

Our first round of voting (see below), with 16 characters from this season’s plays, closes at midnight on Sunday, March 24.

Round 2, with your chosen 8, opens Tuesday, March 26 with voting closing on Friday, March 29.

Your final four character choice vote begins Tuesday, April 2 and comes to a close Friday, April 5.

Finally, the championship voting begins Monday, April 8 before coming to a close on Friday, April 12. The results of the championship bout will be announced Monday, April 15.

So who’s your favorite?  Start voting and spread the word!

(click the image to get a larger version)

Antony and Cleopatra


A Doll’s House


Love’s Labour’s Lost


The Taming of the Shrew

Stellar Reviews for A Doll’s House

A Doll’s House has been getting remarkable reviews since it opened earlier this month.  Here’s a round up of what local theatre critics have been saying about the show.

Broadway World

“Crisp and engaging”

“A stellar cast and crew”

“Rock solid evening of theater”

“not one wasted moment throughout”

“A superb ensemble cast”

“Betsy Schwartz  brings to glorious life what looks to be an expository character and evolves her into a multifaceted woman with her own engaging story.”

“George Mount as the ailing Dr. Rank practically had me in tears with the beautifully heartfelt arc of his character.”

“Peter Dylan O’Connor as the antagonistic Krogstad takes his character well beyond that of a simple villain and infuses his broken man with empathy and heart.”

“the powerhouse driving force that is Jennifer Sue Johnson.”

“she is the sun around which all the other actors revolve.”

“Magical set”


“An awe-inspiring piece”

“A perfect way to start off the new year.”

Drama in the Hood

“Very suspenseful”

“This production made me realize how near perfect this play is.”

“The dramatic structure is so tight, so believable and so suspenseful, that I sat in awe during the performance.”

“The best ‘Doll’s House’ I have ever seen.”

City Arts

“Brimming with secrecy, drama and emotionally charged relationships”

“A solid production in all aspects.”

“Stellar performances”

“Johnson absolutely shines as Nora.”

“Kristine (another brilliant performance).”

“the talented cast of Seattle Shakes’ production delivers a nuanced performance.”

Arts Stage – Seattle Rage

“Seattle Shakespeare’s production is a knock out.”

“What a joy to see it so well done.”

“The beauty of the translation is that it wraps this 19th Century work in 21st Century language.”

Seattle Weekly

“A colloquial new rendering”

The Stranger

“I can find nothing wrong with Seattle Shakespeare Company’s A Doll’s House”

“The pleasures of Ibsen’s play are contained in this adaptation.”

Queen Anne News

“This Doll’s House brings sparkling, fresh life to the classic play.”

“George Mount makes us laugh and cry in a highly sympathetic  role as ailing family friend Dr. Rank.”

“As Krogstad, O’Connor is threatening and villainous, yet also sympathetic as an outcast from both society and love.”

“Betsy Schwartz convincingly plays Mrs. Linde, Nora’s old school friend, former lover of Krogstad and fellow social outsider.”


Seattle Times


“Sean Patrick Taylor’s crisp and clear new translation”

“George Mount’s poignant Dr. Rank”

“High drama”

Seattle Gay News

“Seattle Shakes’ A Doll’s House is a beautifully mounted classic revival”

“The production is a beautifully mounted technical achievement”

“Banham cements himself into the top echelon of Seattle directors”

“George Mount is a delightfully droll Dr. Rank.”

“Betsy Schwartz understates gracefully the role of Mrs. Linde.”

“Peter Dylan O’Connor makes Nils Krogstad almost a likeable villain.”

“Jody McCoy makes everyone wish they had a nany like Anne-Marie.”

“Michael Patten…is solid in his portrayal of a dry banker”

“You must go see it for yourself”

“It leaps off the page into life”

“The new translation by Sean Patrick Taylor…preserves the sense of the times but allows for a more ‘American’ take in the style of the language.”

“Vigorous production”

Seattle Gay Scene

“A Doll’s House for the 21st Century”

“Seattle Shakespeare Company has assembled a strong cast, one of Seattle’s best directors and a terrific line-up of designers and artists to stage this production and they’ve all done a fine job.”

“The cast and production team of this play do get the job done.”

“Seattle Shakes ‘A Doll’s House’ is a solid night of theatre and can be recommended to fans of dramatic theater and classic material, with strong performances and a generally solid production.”

The Spirit of Scandinavia

AquavitTry a taste of the spirit of Scandinavia at A Doll’s House — Aquavit. Seattle Shakespeare Company partners with local distiller Sound Spirits for the signature cocktail for A Doll’s House featuring their aquavit. So just what is aquavit?  It’s a neutral spirit flavored with herbs and spices and is historically made in Scandinavian countries. If you listen closely, you may be able to catch the reference Ibsen made to the spirit in A Doll’s House.

The production process for making aquavit is similar to gin except that the botanicals used in flavoring the liquor are more on the savory side like caraway, fennel, or dill. Although aquavit is traditionally served chilled and neat from small glasses, we’re pairing it with tonic water and lime to provide a light and refreshing drink either before the curtain rises or at intermission. We call it the Skylark.

We’re thrilled to have found a local distiller of aquavit as Sound Spirits is one of the few distilleries making the Scandinavian spirit.  Sound Spirits is the first Seattle distillery since Prohibition. And not only do they make aquavit, but they craft vodka and gin as well. Located in the Interbay neighborhood, you can stop by their tasting room to pick up a bottle, take a sip of their wares, or tour their facility to learn about the art of craft distilling.

The Art of Translation

Original manuscript cover page of "A Doll's House," 1879
Original manuscript cover page of “A Doll’s House,” 1879

The art of translation, taken back to its Latin roots, involves a carrying-over. But what does one carry over?

Translators like to maintain their devotion to retaining the “original meaning” of the text (and I have been just as guilty of this in the past as any). If by “meaning” we mean “what the author really said,” the endeavor is futile. The author has already said what he wanted to say, in a language probably incomprehensible to the audience the translator wishes to reach.

So we become less audacious, and say that we want to preserve the “sense” of the original. But this, too, is no mean task. Language is not a transparent medium, in which meaning is easily transferable from one tongue to another. That we regularly misunderstand those speaking in the same language as ours testifies to this truth.

Many of the more daunting obstacles I’ve faced as a translator have been removed in my approach to A Doll’s House: the work is a relatively recent one (for a medievalist such as myself, anyway); the characters do not speak in verse; the bourgeois setting involves concerns familiar to one raised in such surroundings. The problems that remain are the ones that always attend the project of translation: how to represent words from a different language and time in a manner by which the characters retain their individual voices (if the author has been careful enough to provide them), and the manner and mood of the scenes, insofar as they are created by language, are upheld.

With A Doll’s House, the major challenge was to mitigate the tendency in Scandinavian languages toward prolixity (tedious wordiness). Ibsen’s dialect, Dano-Norwegian, retains the fondness for subordinate clauses common to Germanic languages. Carrying this kind of syntax into English results in a style that strikes the modern ear as rather stilted or overly formal. I’ve retained some of that kind of diction where appropriate, notably for Dr. Rank, whose macabre sense of humor is well-served by it, or for Helmer in his more priggish moments. Whereas for Nora, I’ve tried to combine clauses, even truncate them, in order to give her speech a sense of breathlessness, of headlong motion. In two scenes in Act 3—that between Mrs. Linde and Krogstad, and the final scene between Nora and Helmer— I’ve extended this practice of consolidation, compressing exchanges between characters by removing superfluous responses or recapitulations.

On the level of diction, I’ve tried to adopt a style appropriate to middle class individuals of the late nineteenth century, interpreted into an American idiom rather than a British one. At times the natural reticence of the Scandinavian character provides challenges in this regard. When Nora tells us she dearly wants to say something rude that Helmer will hear, her outburst might be translated literally as “death and torment!” Here, as elsewhere, I have taken liberties in translation to compensate for the paucity of hyperbolic expression available in Nordic languages.

I hope, as always, that my labors on this translation will provide the audience with as much pleasure as it has to me. The great reward of the translator’s work is that it obliges him to slow down and listen very carefully. It’s in this deliberation I often find the true pleasure of the text.

— Sean Patrick Taylor, A Doll’s House translator