Bard Gets a Jonson Boost

Article excerpt

Byline: Ann Geracimos, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

As the Dow Jones average drops, Nicholas Goldsborough's heart sinks - but not fatally. "I'm not too panicky," the Shakespeare Theatre's managing director says of progress on the institution's $50 million building campaign, "because we have three years."

"Every month a play keeps the Dow away," opines a cheerful Landon Butler, the theater's board chairman.

Attitude is everything, at least it was at Monday's dinner in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center before the opening night of "The Silent Woman," an early 17th-century comedy by English playwright Ben Jonson. "This has been a challenging year," Mr. Goldsborough told assembled guests, who included three members of the D.C. Council - Carol Schwartz, Phil Mendelsohn and David Catania, all well aware of what a challenge can be. (Council member Cathy Patterson attended the performance.)

"We have 17,000 subscribers, which is rather extraordinary in a difficult time," Mr. Goldsborough couldn't resist mentioning, with special thanks for key supporters and underwriters. "When you are being generous these days, you are being really generous."

The local production, directed by Michael Kahn, is giving the play its first full showing in centuries, and this is owed to Mr. Kahn's having found a 25-cent paperback version by accident in a bookstore.

"I'd never read it, and it was very, very funny," the theater's renowned artistic director said, "but it required very skilled actors. …