The workers who constructed the Walla Walla Gas Plant 120 years ago probably didn't have Cleopatra on their minds.
Nor King Lear nor Macbeth.
Maybe Falstaff. Although it might have been the beer and not the character from Shakespeare that came to their minds.
Nevertheless, the building first erected as a gas plant to fuel the town's lights soon was turned into an electric plant and eventually closed down.
But in a matter of weeks, those who enter the old plant, now known as The Powerhouse Theatre, will get all the Shakespeare they can handle.
It's an imaginative idea, turning this great old building to a new purpose. It is reminiscent of efforts to reclaim other industrial sites. Spokane's Steam Plant Grill comes to mind.
The ambitious organizers envision Walla Walla as a destination for theater lovers from across the Northwest.
We hope they're right.
Walla Walla has been transformed in the past couple of decades into an inviting downtown shaded from the sun, with wineries and public art and sidewalk cafes, while at the same time preserving the charm and history of what was once (and may still be) Washington's most famous town.
There is a fundraising inaugural event planned for the new theater from 5:30 to 9 p.m. May 18, which will feature Shakespearean actors wearing Elizabethan-inspired fashions, including creative masks, hair styles and other accessories from the days of Queen Elizabeth I.
Food from the era also will be served.
Tickets are $200 and include admission to the following night's performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor. (Tickets are online at www.shakespearewallawalla.org.)
So, bring on Shallow, Slender, Nym, Bardolph and Pistol!
And Mistress Quickly, too.