A king and three of his nobles swear off earthly pleasures and seclude themselves in an academy for three years. But when a princess and her entourage arrive and set out to thwart the men’s scholarly endeavors, you have the makings of a Renaissance “rom-com” — or romantic comedy. Horseplay and wordplay abound as oaths are made, hidden love letters are exposed, and characters verbally spar in this tasty “feast of languages.”
That’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, the opening production for the School of Drama’s 2010-2011 season. This wittiest of Shakespeare’s plays will be presented in the Hughes Penthouse Theatre. Previews begin Sunday, October 24, and the production runs through November 7th.
Directed by Andrew Tsao, the play features MFA students from the Professional Actor Training Program and undergraduate actors.
Shakespeare’s examination of amour and academics is perfect for a college audience. Love’s Labour’s Lost is set when head to universities before venturing out into the “real world.” It’s an age for playing at — rather than being in — love. Students are ready to conquer the world without even breaking a sweat. The king and his nobles aspire to be warriors, scholars or teachers and think they can only “graduate” if they shut out all romantic distractions.
All soon learn, however, that love is not as easily mastered as Latin. Which raises the question: Do scholars make the best lovers? Or vice versa?
“Broken vows, false declarations, assumptions, hyperbole and malapropism are Shakespeare’s fascinations in Love’s Labour’s Lost,” said diector Tsao. “Often the sanctuaries we construct to hide ourselves from the world are made of more than personas: words themselves are powerful enough, in that they can fortify what we protect and destroy what we wish to possess at the same time. Perhaps that is why Shakespeare asks us to laugh at this contradiction, for laughter is what reminds us of our humanity best.”
Ticket prices are $15 for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and $17 for Friday and Saturday. All students pay $10 and seniors pay $13. Previews are $10. All evening performances begin at 7:30 and Sunday matinees are at 2 pm. For more information, call the UW Arts Ticket Office at 206-543-4880 or visit online here.