The essence of nature enveloped the stage with greenery and ruins of stone walls, creating the atmosphere of a forest. A tree, a plant and a rope swing, all later used by the actors for comedic purposes, added to the effect, making the environment quaint and charming.
In the third mainstage production of the school year, SPU students and faculty worked hard to produce their version of William Shakespeare’s comedic play “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” directed by Carol Roscoe.
The classic play is very adaptable and open for interpretation. Shakespearean shows are often put into different time settings or places, and SPU recreated the show to resemble the American 1920s. Flapper dresses, cloche hats and dapper suits dazzled the stage, adding a whole new dimension to the play.
Aside from the beauty of both the costumes and the set designs, the actors left the audience breathless. In multiple points throughout the show, the actors’ voices were drowned out from the crowd’s resounding laughter.
SPU’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” created an entertaining night for the audience, but also showed what love is and the effects it can bring to another person.
According to first-year Caleb Macduff, who plays Don Armado D’Adriano, “[The production] is about a king and his three friends who swear off women for three years and then immediately fall in love with the princess of France and her three ladies, and the shenanigans that follow as the men try to woo the ladies without breaking their vows.”
All of the actors had to prepare extensively to put on the complex Shakespearean show. For many of the actors, this was the first time they ever acted in a full-fledge Shakespeare play.
Senior Emma Heesacker plays Rosaline, one of the princess’s ladies. She recalls the work that went into play, saying, “Apart from rehearsing six days a week, we worked to learn all the specificity and nuances of Shakespeare’s text.”
“He wrote with so much foresight and intention; there is a lot to be found in any given line. Working with his verse in iambic pentameter and finding the operative worlds informs us what he wanted for these characters even though this text is centuries old.”
First-year Alycia Linton, who plays Jaquenetta, said, “I’ve gained so much appreciation through the music and the complex language. This being my first comedic Shakespeare show, it was great to play with the language.”
Even though “Love’s Labour’s Lost” is mainly about the love between the King and his friends, and the Princess and her ladies, it also follows other characters.
These include Macduff’s character, Don Armado D’adriano, and Linton’s character, Jaquenetta, and their quest for love, or the play Sir Nathaniel, Holofernes, Dull, and others decide to perform for the lords and ladies.
Each character brings their own strengths and styles to the show, eliciting different connections with the audience. The actors were able to do this through their own prep work, making their characters come to life on the stage.
Heesacker explained, “Personally, I found inspiration for Rosaline in the strangest place: a perfume ad.”
Last November, Dior released an ad for their newest fragrance. The ad featured Natalie Portman, who represented the character of Miss Dior. Portman played a charming, fierce, passionate, independent woman.
“I found this character to share a lot of qualities I wanted to exhibit in Rosaline,” Heesacker said.
Linton had a different way of preparing, saying, “I researched the lifestyle of women in the Elizabethan era, while also researching the lifestyle of women in the 1920s. Jaquenetta was a very easy character to memorize, but I really put all my heart into her.”
In the eyes of the audience, all of the actors’ preparation and hard work paid off. The audience left the theater full of bubbly laughter and compliments for the show.
Many students in the audience felt that the show provided much needed laughter amidst the midterms, papers and projects stacking up.
Macduff has high expectations for the show’s future performances. “I hope the audience will leave the show laughing at the absurdity of love. Love isn’t necessarily some big dramatic thing: it is ridiculous and, quite frankly, pretty funny”.
Love’s Labour’s Lost is showing from April 26-28 at 7:30 PM, along with a 2:00 PM matinee on April 28, in McKinley Theatre.