J. Barrett Cooper & Kelsey Thompson in Savage Rose’s King Lear
Photo: Kelly Moore


By Keith Waits.

Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Love’s Labour’s Lost featuring the Globe Players high school conservatory  from  Kentucky Shakespeare opens tonight in Central Park, directed by Brian Hinds, but next week, as a way of wrapping up a triumphant summer season, Shakespeare in Central Park begins sharing their stage with four other local companies for two weeks. The Kentucky Shakespeare Festivals Community Partners Repertory will consist of two remounts of highly acclaimed productions from earlier this year and one entirely new examination of women in the Bard of Avon’s plays. The fourth is a revised take on a production from 2009 that will serve as a valedictory for its company members.

The six-member Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble announced earlier this spring that, after 10 years, they are disbanding as a company with three farewell performances of As You Like It on the C. Douglas Ramey stage. Although technically a remount, their reputation for inventiveness promises more of a reimagining. Three of its members, Gregory Maupin, Abigail Bailey-Maupin and Kyle Ware, were included in this summer’s Kentucky Shakespeare ensemble, appearing in all three main stage productions.

In a review originally published in Theatre Louisville, I wrote of the 2009 production -“The text has been cut judiciously with a concentration on the narrative and character interaction that sacrifices some of the flower of Shakespeare’s language but maintains the plot and humor of the play with force and style. It cuts to the heart of the matter and reminds us that his plays are, above all, good storytelling, and becomes one of the most satisfying productions of the playwright’s works I’ve seen.”

Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble presents As You Like It

August 5, 7, 9

Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company presents King Lear

August 13, 15, 17

In Arts-Louisville Carlos-Manuel described this production, directed by J. Barrett Cooper, as – “…a tour de force… to be a part of a theatrical experience where clarity, focus, diction, motivations, pronunciation, and goals are as rich, as professional, as strong, and solid as with this ensemble, is rare.” Mr. Cooper, a long-time fixture in Louisville theatre who founded Savage Rose, also plays the title role, and this is yet another farewell, as he will be leaving Louisville very hard upon this run to take up the position of Artistic Director at the Idyllwild Arts Academy in Pine Cove, CA, where he has worked in the summer program for several years.

Walden Theatre presents Pericles

August 6, 8, 10

Kate Barry said in her May 2014 Arts-Louisville review – “Director Julane Havens’ vision fuses elements of Greek drama and modern contemporary theater for a result that makes this rather obscure work accessible for any kind of audience. Dressing the entire cast in minimal yet brightly colored costume pieces upon black t-shirts and pants, the concept gives each student-actor a chance to come up with a bold choice and personality for each of the multiple characters they play.”

Shoestring Production presents Women of Will

August 12, 14, 16

Director Kathi E.B. Ellis brings something a little different to the festival, a compilation of scenes and monologues highlighting the diversity of Shakespeare’s female characters. Designed for four women to play all the characters, drawn from sixteen of Shakespeare’s plays, the additional conceit is that the only male characters that appear in the production are when the women dress up as boys to pursue their own destinies. Megan Caudill, Erica McClure, Chelsea Skalski and Karole Spangler make up the cast.

Free Admission to All Performances
7:15 Pre-show/8:00pm Curtain

Kentucky Shakespeare
C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre
1340 South Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40208