An e-mail alert went out yesterday to previous attendees of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All that it’s still on, but it’s now on inside and in Penn Quarter at the newish Sidney Harman Hall. That means no more pre-show picnics on the grounds of Carter Barron (the National Building Museum is opening its more limited patch of grass this year), no more waiting in the woods and chatting with strangers before the gates open, no more wrapping up in blankets in the first act’s gloaming, no more marveling as the moon appears just when it should during A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

I missed last year‘s rather soft announcement of the death of one of D.C.’s greatest summer pleasures, staged at Rock Creek Park’s amphitheater since 1991. Sure: The pros at the STC are still offering their talents to the masses free of charge and, sure, said talents won’t be hampered by rain, or cold, or the choking D.C. humidity. But wasn’t the weather part of what made the Free For All such fun?

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