For the past four weeks, our middle school ensemble has been tackling one of Shakespeare’s toughest comedies – Love’s Labour’s Lost – under the capable direction of teaching artist Shawn Belyea. This is our third middle school show of the summer, a first for the Seattle Public Theater Youth Program!
Written in the mid-1590’s, and first performed in 1597, Love’s Labour’s Lost is an early Shakespeare comedy. It concerns the King of Navarre and his three friends, who promise to lock themselves away for three years to study, and avoid the company of women. But the Princess of France arrives – with her three ladies – leading to comic mayhem and much falling in love, despite protestations to the contrary. The ending, however, contains an unusual twist, making it fairly unique among Shakespearean comedies.
The Wikipedia entry for Love’s Labour’s Lost calls it “Shakespeare’s most flamboyantly intellectual play,” a well-deserved reputation. To make the show more accessible to young actors, and to audiences, the play has been cut, and director Shawn Belyea has chosen to set it in a 60’s fraternity house. Given the plot – four scholars lock themselves away from women to study – it seems a very appropriate choice!
Our students have been rehearsing for three weeks, three hours a day, five days a week, and are now deep into the heart of “tech week,” where all of the technical elements get added – costumes, lights, sound, props – in preparation for Opening Night this Friday! It’s time to practice those lines, make sure you remember all your entrances, and step out into the spotlight!