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Shakespeare Theatre Company’s mock trial
“History teaches us that once an ass, always an ass, but sometimes, being an ass turns out to be an asset.” So goes the opening argument in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s first virtual mock trial. The event, which has real legal professionals adjudicate a dispute from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was originally presented live on June 22 via Zoom, but thanks to popular demand from people who want to see Merrick B. Garland in a bathrobe, Shakespeare Theatre is offering encore presentations of the trial on July 24 and 25. The pandemic has hit the company in multiple ways: It recently laid off a third of its staff, and this usually in-person event went virtual. In the trial, respondent Peter Quince, leader of an Athenian community theater troupe, defends his right to back out of a performance contract after the Rude Mechanicals‘ leading man was transformed into a donkey and the show could not go on. These unprecedented circumstances equate to force majeure, an act of god, argues high-powered D.C. attorney Abbe Lowell. But just because Puck whines about “what fools these mortals be,” that does not make the fairy a god, counters Kathryn Ruemmler, an Obama-era Justice Department appointee who represents the slighted Duke of Athens. Appearing on your computer screen to settle the matter are four real-life Washington jurists, led by the former Supreme Court nominee Garland. Granted, the Shakespeare puns will be funnier for English majors, but the dialogue is full of cheeky political humor, including references to antifa (antique fairies), PJ, and Squee. Watch for laughs, and for the knowledge that Garland owns the complete works of Shakespeare and a monogrammed “Judge Garland” bathrobe. The show will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on July 24 and 2 p.m. on July 25. Registration is available at shakespearetheatre.org. $10-25; free for students. —Rebecca J. Ritzel
Urban Waterways Resource Hub
The Anacostia is often called the “forgotten river.” Though significant progress has been made in recent years, the Anacostia River has been trash-clogged and toxin-ridden for decades, a casualty of environmental racism. The ongoing cleanup can only be sustained if there are continued efforts to foster an understanding of the river’s importance to neighboring communities and the local biosphere. Urban Waterways, a resource hub and interdisciplinary project created to focus on the Anacostia that has spread to other rivers across the country, helps do that. It tells the story of the river through photos, videos, and interviews. The story is especially clear in “River of Resilience,” a nine-part interactive story that traces the Anacostia from its headwaters to its intersection with the more famous Potomac River. In Chapter 1, you’ll see how a river that splits the nation’s capital begins as a series of trickling streams in sleepy Sandy Spring, Maryland. In Chapter 8, learn about how the toxic residue of military industrial operations in Navy Yard linger in the river to this day. Before it was “forgotten,” the Anacostia was the lifeblood for local wildlife and the Nacotchtank people. With resources like Urban Waterways to help us remember the river’s importance, it could once again become a resource that benefits the people living by its banks. The project is available at anacostia.si.edu. Free. —Will Lennon