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Posts tagged: Shakespeare

‘Much Ado’ about quality

I caught the Spokane Shakespeare Company's free production of “Much Ado About Nothing” on the lawn at Gonzaga Prep and I was astonished at how good it was.

This cast — mostly college-age or just a little beyond — brought this comedy to life. They did the three things required to turn Shakespeare from a mere recitation into a lively, engaging work of theater:

  • The cast, without exception, had great enunciation and projection.
  • They had fun with Shakespeare's language, delivering the juiciest phrases with evident relish.
  • They accompanied nearly every line with some kind of visual cue or comic business, which made it easier for us to grasp the meaning. It also, not coincidentally,  made the show funnier.

The credit for this must go to director Kevin Connell, who was endlessly inventive in helping his actors “suit the action to the word and the word to the action.”

The run is over for the summer. Here's hoping they're back next year. 

Brush up your Shakespeare

We have plenty of Shakespeare in the region this month, including:

  • “Much Ado About Nothing,” on the lawn at Gonzaga Prep, 1224 E. Euclid Ave., weekends through Aug. 21 – The Spokane Shakespeare Company, under the direction of Kevin Connell, continues its run of this sprightly comedy over the next two weekends (Fridays and Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.). Admission is free, and no reservations are required; donations will be accepted. Bring your own food and other refreshments and maybe a blanket. Seating is on the grass. The Spokane Shakespeare Company includes a number of area college actors and local theater veterans.
  • The Shakespeare Walla Walla Summer Festival, through Aug. 14 – This new festival is doing  “The Comedy of Errors” and “Swansong” (which is by Patrick Page but is about Shakespeare) – at two venues. “Swansong” runs through Aug. 14 at the newly renovated Power House Theatre, 111 6th St. (at Rose Street) in downtown Walla Walla, and is performed by Shakespeare Walla Walla.The two Shakespeare plays will be performed by the Seattle Shakespeare Company at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheatre, 757 Myra Road. You’ve already missed out on “Macbeth,” since the last performance was Sunday, but “The Comedy of Errors” runs Wednesday through Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. For tickets and details go here. By the way, playwright Page, who won the American Theater Critics Association award for Best New Play for “Swansong,” is a Whitman College grad.
  • Montana Shakespeare in the Parks – This annual free tour, which covers Montana all summer, will sneak into our region for a couple of performances of “Much Ado About Nothing.” The show will be at the Heron, Mont., Ballfield on Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. (Mountain Time) and at Liberty Lake’s Pavillion Park on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. Yes, Montana Shakespeare does sneak into Washington occasionally.

An outdoor ‘Much Ado’ at G-Prep

Free Shakespeare will return to the lawn on the Gonzaga Prep campus, with “Much Ado About Nothing,” Aug. 5-21. This follows a successful “Taming of the Shrew” in 2009.

Director and creative force Kevin Connell (also known as the G-Prep principal) said this year's production will be a little different: Three more performances have been added and most shows will be in early evening (6 p.m.) instead of in the afternoon. Seating is on the grass, so blankets and lawn chairs are a good idea.

Here's the complete info, from Connell's press release:

The Spokane Shakespeare Company will present Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s most popular romantic comedies, on the first three weekends of August outdoors on the campus of Gonzaga Preparatory School.  Much Ado tells the story of the “merry war” between Shakespeare’s wittiest lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, as they employ every verbal weapon at their command to resist the irresistible attraction that everyone but themselves can see pulling them together.  The production will be staged in the days after WWII as men return home from battle and women refuse to surrender the independence their war-time responsibilities have won them.  The cast features actors from EWU, GU, and SFCC along with several popular local theater veterans and is directed by Kevin Connell, S.J. of GU’s Theatre Arts Program and the principal of Gonzaga Prep.  Performances will take place Friday through Sunday, August 5-7, 12-14, and 19-21.  Friday and Saturday shows will begin at 6 p.m. and Sunday shows at 3 p.m.  The performance runs 90 minutes and is suitable for all ages.  Seating is on the grass and patrons are encouraged to bring their own food and refreshments.  Admission is by donation and reservations will not be taken. For more information call 509-994-2788 or consult Spokane Shakespeare Company on Facebook.

Shakespeare’s Globe, coming to a screen near you

Can’t afford the trip to London to see Shakespeare performed in the best of all possible venues, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre?

Catch it right here on the big screen, at the Northtown 12 Cinemas, 4750 N. Division St.

The same company that has been bringing the Metropolitan Opera to local theaters has announced a new series, filmed last year at the Globe and broadcast digitally to 260 movie theaters around the country.

Here’s the lineup:

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” – June 27.

“Henry IV, Part 1” – Aug. 1.

“Henry IV, Part 2” – Aug. 18.

“Henry VIII” – Sept. 15.

All shows are at 7 p.m., and each showing includes a 20-minute historical feature on the Globe, the modern replica of Shakespeare’s original theater. Tickets will be $15, available at the theater box office, or here.

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