The quick history: on March 3, longtime and well-loved managing director of Seattle Shakes (John Bradshaw) announced his departure from the organization. He was going to work at the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center in Woodinville. People were sad and said their goodbyes.
Then, yesterday, longtime and slightly-less-universally-adored artistic director of Seattle Shakes (Stephanie Shine) announced that she was leaving.
Inquiring minds around the theater scene quietly wondered (and I quote from an email yesterday): "What the fuck? I'll stop caring in about 5 minutes, but what the fuck?"
Since the figurative five minutes aren't up yet, here the fuck:
The unsubstantiated-rumor version of the story is this—Shine recently had twins with another Shakespeare director she met in Kentucky, so she's probably thinking about motherhood and taking time off anyway. But in the meantime, she kinda turned the Seattle Shakes/Book-It space (they share a theater in the Center House) into a nursery. Nannies and diapers in lobby during production meetings, etc., etc. And she half-assed her production of The Threepenny Opera, which broke some kind of ticket-sales record, but only because a) it was performed in the gargantuan Intiman and b) nobody's done TPO in this town in a long time but the show has good name recognition. So people turned up and had their faces bored off.
Bradshaw got a little fed up with all this in a this-is-the-last-straw way, but figured Shine wouldn't be leaving anytime soon...
She'd been the artistic director of Seattle Shakes for 13 years and, what with her casting herself in lead roles and directing productions, she didn't look like she'd be going anywhere soon.
So he finally quit.
Then Shine, for reasons that aren't quite clear, abruptly quit. Maybe for motherhood, maybe for love in Kentucky, maybe because Bradshaw's leaving inspired her and/or disrupted her equilibrium.
And now Bradshaw's thinking: "Dammit, I left because I thought you were going to stay, Stephanie. Now what the hell do I do?"
When asked for comment on this fantasia, cobbled together from a few rumor-mongers, Bradshaw said:
Brendan, Brendan, Brendan - you know I'm not going to comment on any word on the street.
Meanwhile, actors, designers, and audience members are fervently praying that the board of Seattle Shakes hires someone with a track record of knocking our socks off to replace Shine. Shelia Daniels (Electra, Crime and Punishment), perhaps? Or John Langs (Hamlet, many other shows)?
Personally, I'd like the board to hire someone who promises to make Seattle Shakes the weirdest, best Shakespeare company in the United States.