Shakespeare Santa Cruz, a wonderful small theatre company in the San Francisco Bay area, is being shut down. While I consider it a loss when any theatre company is lost, this one is particularly close to my heart. It was able to use the facilities of the University of Santa Cruz during the summer months, and for the past 32 years has been putting on some really wonderful theatre.
As its name indicates, it focused primarily on Shakespeare, but the season always included one or more other shows. It was at SSC that I first encountered Waiting for Godot and saw a version of Richard III that I still get chills remembering. Both of those shows featured Paul Whitworth, the Royal Shakespeare Company actor who also served two terms as Artistic Director of the company. The current Artistic Director, Marco Barricelli, who is also a fine actor, saved the company in 2008 with a community outreach that convinced UCSC to continue the program after first deciding to shut it down.
One of the special things about SSC was the performances that took place in The Glen, the outdoor theatre. Whether you were there for a picnic and matinee, or seeing a show under the stars, being there always felt special. Some of my other favorite performances there include Bach in Leipzig, Playboy of the Western World, a very entertaining Cymbeline, Arms and the Man, and one of the best performances of Endgame I’ve ever seen.
Goodbye, SSC. I hope there’s some chance you’ll be resurrected in some other form, but even if not, you enriched my life and I will always be grateful.