Shakes and the city
Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost" gets a fun overhaul with sassy urban girls in stiletto heels where the bachelors used to be.
By JOSEPH LANGHAM
Attention Shakespeare scholars: Here is your chance to finally enjoy HBO's pop hit "Sex and the City." Attention "Sex and the City" scholars: Like, you are finally going to love Shakespeare! Oh, and the shoes!
Gender-switching the roles in Shakespeare's plays can be a risky adventure. It can sputter and crash in a ball of flame resulting from too many noxious fumes, or it can treat its passenger to a nice smooth ride. Thankfully Thirteenth Night Theatre Company (I get it!) and director Kit Thacker like to work out before flexing any sex-swap muscle. While this approach to Willie's plays is not particularly groundbreaking, the resulting version of "Love's Labour's Lost" is a nice and thoroughly entertaining evening at the Tribeca Playhouse.
|LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST|
|Company: Thirteenth Night.|
Written by: William Shakespeare.
Directed by: Kit Thacker.
Cast: Katrin Macmillan, Joy Barrett, Amy Groeschel, Sarah Megan Thomas, Jessica Chandlee Smith, Nicole Stewart, Vivia Font, Corey Tazmania Stieb, Matthew Wilson, George Burich, Natalie Gold, Michael X. Izquierdo, Jordan Dyck, Michael Craig Patterson.
Music by: Michael Cooper.
Set design by: David Morris.
Costumes by: Courtney Braun.
Related links: Official site
111 Reade Street (at West Broadway)
Previews start: March 19, 2003
March 20 - April 12, 2003
The play opens with a hilarious non-verbal segment showing our pretty Queen (Katrin Macmillan) and her three sexy attendants (Joy Barrett, Amy Groeschel and Sarah Megan Thomas) partying until they puke. It is apparently the next morning when, with a huge hangover, they decide to swear off men and parties for three years and pay attention only to scholarly studies.
This is all fine and dandy, until word arrives that the King of France is sending his son to settle a minute dispute over land ownership. Of course the Prince (Michael Izquierdo) is such a hottie and his attendants (George Burich, Jordan Dyck, and Michael Craig Patterson) such well-dressed hunky gents, that our ladies rapidly begin their regression to their briefly former ways. The boys are accompanied by their hilarious and beautiful administrative assistant Boyet (Natalie Gold). We keep wondering why one of the boys hasn't hooked up with Boyet, but that just isn't in the script.
The Ladies try to resist the lures of these male sirens by not allowing them to stay in the house, rather making them camp in the field. But, hormones work in mysterious ways not mysterious, predictable ways and soon our ladies completely slip in the muddy puddle that is love.
The play is interspersed with some other delightful characters with fun subplots to the main story line. We meet Armada, a fantastical Spaniard (Vivia Font), and her henchwoman Mote (Corey Tazmania Sieb). We learn that Armada loves Jaques (Matthew Wilson), a good ol' boy from the country. We also meet a clown Costard (Nicole Stewart) and the Constable Dull (Jessica Chandlee Smith), that facilitate, in that oh-so-Shakespearean way, the outcome of the play.
The cast is a very strong one with absolutely no one turning in a lackluster performance. There were, however, a few standout performances worthy of note. Nicole Stewart's Costard kept the audience in stitches with her strong understanding of comedic timing. She would make us laugh even when we didn't really know what she was saying. Vivia Font's Armada kept all eyes glued to the stage with her strong presence and precisely appropriate erratic behavior. The chemistry Ms. Font shared with her assistant Mote, played with conviction by Corey Tazmania Stieb, was wonderful. These two truly grasp the concept of give-and-take when it comes to sharing a stage. Natalie Gold's Boyet has a few stellar moments. Other belly laughs were provided by Matthew Wilson's Jaques in the play within the play and Michael Craig Patterson's Charles at the masquerade.
Thacker's direction and adaptation worked quite well. The resulting script makes for some excellent roles for women, which, as we all know, there is a severe shortage of. The show was cast quite excellently by Craig Defalco, and the original, quirky incidental score was provided with skill by Michael Cooper. The costumes by Courtney Braun seemed a little too experimental in their fashion. They just didn't seem to denote the contemporary time period inherent in Thacker's adaptation. David Morris's set was appropriate and provided nice levels for director and actors to work with, although it was a little boxy.
Other than a few nitpicky flaws, the overall production was very enjoyable to sit through. As with most Shakespeare, there are segments that are just too long, but this excellent cast made even the long moments short and energetic. This production, like "Sex and The City," is sure to please both sexes. The girls will love the girliness of it, and the boys will love the girls, even though, truth be told, the boys secretly enjoy the girliness of it too.
|MARCH 27, 2003|
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