LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST Shakespeare in Delaware Park
Jul 27, 2019, 23:14
Through August 18
LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST Shakespeare in Delaware Park
Shakespeare wrote for money.
He wrote for an audience willing to pay to get into The Crown or The Globe or some country inn when the stage company went on the road to escape the plague or political maneuvering or whatever.
He knew you must tell a story people want to hear, wrapped around the breaks for bear baiting and bringing in the cash for the performers and the concession stands in the vicinity.
Here, a heavily musical “Love’s Labour’s Lost” is about dumb men, smart women and a strong plot.
And, it’s getting a strong production from SIDP.
As long-time visitors to Shakespeare Hill know, it’s a funny story.
It’s been staged there before.
The story is set at one of the rural hunting lodges kings loved because what went on in rural areas wasn’t widely whispered about, particularly when the king’s people controlled the property.
In this case, it’s a country house in the long-gone Kingdom of Navarre which sprawled across a vast area in France and Spain.
King Ferdinand (Ben Caldwell) is spending his time studying the great issues, along with Lords Berowne (Darryl Semira), Longaville (Lucas Lloyd) and Dumaine (David Wysocki).
It might have benefitted the kingdom for the king to spend time running the country but it would have been a much weaker story.
Instead, the four have agreed to spend three-years studying and keeping away from women.
That’s easy when there aren’t any women of their class around.
That’s until the Princess of France (Rebecca Elkin) arrives, with three of her ladies, Rosaline (Marissa Biondolillo), Maria (Gretchen Martin) and Katharine (Jamie Nablo).
The lords and the ladies know each other from various social situations across France and marriage was always on the clipboard as the great families looked for heirs to keep the bloodline going.
Plans for celibate study vanish very, very quickly and they maneuver to get up close and personal with the opposite sex, stumblingly aided by Shakespeare’s usual idiot and devious servants.
Here, there many of them, particularly Tom Loughlin’s Don Adriano de Armado, Peter Horn’s Costard and Nathanial W. C. Higgins as the princess’ usher Boyet.
The maneuvering is the funniest part of the show, since the women know what’s going on as the men try to maneuver around their pledges to stay away from them.
It all changes when the princess learns that her father has died and she must head back to Paris.
She tells the men they will meet up again in a year and see whether the group wants to move on together.
There is a lost Shakespeare play “Love’s Labour’s Won,” which is thought to have been a sequel, reporting what happened that year later.
We’ll never know what happens, although the playwright’s other work suggests what that story might have been.
So, we’re focusing only on the surviving play.
The production is strong and entertaining, with some excellent performances, especially Semira, Loughlin, Charles Wahl’s Moth and Horn.
Take a picnic basket and go sit on Shakespeare Hill and watch “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”
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