Emma Payne, Katlyn Judd, Caroline Glazier and Stephanie Sollis in rehearsal for Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Love’s Labour’s Lost
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Brian Hinds
Review by Rachel White
Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Rachel White. All rights reserved.
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival continues its summer long romp with The Globe Players Production of Love’s Labour’s Lost. The Globe Players come out of the company’s six-week conservatory for high school students directed and taught by Brian Hinds.
Love’s Labour’s Lost is set in the kingdom of Navarre, where the King (Michael Baily) has decided to take his men on a retreat of sorts, and has banned all the women. The women of course, plot to sneak their way both into the men’s camp and into their hearts. In a fun directorial twist, the production sets the play in “summer camp Navarre”, complete with matching yellow tees, camp-fires and special handshakes.
Titles and certain textual elements get a little confusing in this context but the teen angst, the themes of unrequited love, the excitement of new found intimacies all fit well with the text and cast the story in a new light. It is reminiscent of both summer camp and all of those kid movies about summer camp. Instead of silly gags, though, out of these kids’ mouths comes poetry. It’s kind of like camp if camp were idealized if we could say what we really felt the way we wanted to say it.
Summer camp as I remember it, was a time where all kids are strangers trying to make the most of a time together. It was a lonely uncomfortable experience in many ways. In the park with the humidity and the crickets you feel it. There is present in the play the odd artificial separation of girls and guys, the weird hormones, the slightly older and unsympathetic counselors. Hinds makes use of every camping trope but always with sensitivity and to the advantage of the piece, including intimate scenes around the campfire with marshmallows. I like Shakespeare around a campfire. It works.
There were some slow transitions between scenes, and a bit of lagging in the second act. Part of this was the largeness of the stage in combination with the difficulty of the text. Tighter transitions between scenes would have given it that comic edge and energy it needed. There are moments where the production elements don’t quite meet the text. The Princess of France receives a letter that her father has passed away. This is a strange turn of events that the world of the production can’t quite accommodate.
What I found remarkable was how adept the actors are with the language. They lend a specificity, a naturalness to the words that is really exceptional. They also have the ability to use themselves in the work, which makes for unexpected laughs. Brandon Burke as Berowne handles those soliloquies with clarity of intention. Patrick Koshewa as Costard the clown manages a thoroughly unique delivery. The cast is young, they have a few kinks to work out, but they are exceedingly charming and they handle the words beautifully.
Love’s Labour’s Lost
July 31-August 3, 2014
Free Admission to All Performances
7:15 Pre-show/8:00pm Curtain
C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre
1340 South Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40208