At 7:30 pm on November 27 and running until December 1 William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost opens at the Greenhill Center of the Arts’ Hicklin Studio Theatre. Love’s Labours Lost tells the story of the King of Navarre and how he and his three best friends, in order to better themselves, swear an oath to study, fast and not keep the company of women. It sounds like a good idea-until the beautiful Princess of France and her three lovely friends arrive. As tradition dictates, the men greet the women, and soon find it difficult to keep their oath. Suddenly, love is alive in the kingdom of Navarre, along with trickery, mistaken identities, and secret meetings. One of Shakespeare’s most fun and fanciful plays, Love’s Labours Lost explores loves is all of its different forms and the joy it adds to life!
This video link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2qetpkZAHY&feature=youtu.be) shows our promotions team sitting down with Jim Butchart, director of the UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department’s upcoming production of Love’s Labours Lost to find out more about the production. Keep in mind the footage from rehearsal is from the early weeks and actors are still carrying scripts.
From Left to Right: Andrew Muwonge, Peter Brian Kelly, Rasell Holt, Cory Jefferson Hagen
and Adam O’Neil
I sat down with Andrew Muwonge who plays Lord Biron, friend to King Ferdinand, and Assistant Director Sarah Stokes to talk about the Love’s Labours Lost (LLL). Here is what Andrew had to say:
How would you describe your character?
Biron is someone who loves to have fun in life. He’s not into commitments or things that will require him to work hard, a bit of a player and a ladies man, and likes to take life one day at a time. Words are something that Biron is very good with; it’s very easy for him to twist people’s words or talk his way out of a situation. He’s a very convincing and smooth guy.
What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to cross with LLL?
The biggest hurdle was of course, the language. Shakespeare can already be difficult for some people to understand. A lot of this show is about language and how characters communicate and miscommunicate with each other. My character in particular is very good with words, so learning my lines and making sense of them to myself and to the audience has been the biggest challenge.
What has been the biggest reward with LLL?
The biggest reward is knowing that I can handle Shakespeare. It can be intimidating for an actor, especially someone like me who didn’t really have much experience before coming to college, but now that I know I can handle the language and understand it, it gives me confidence in all other types of shows.
These posters have sprung up on campus with you in different areas of the university. What was the motivation for that?
We needed to advertise the show, and Jake Lesh, who plays Boyet was in charge of the publicity for the show. He asked me if I was okay with dressing up in costume and taking pictures doing every day things around the university. I think the idea behind the “Where’s your Shakespeare?” is to get people to think about art everywhere. It was based off the advertising Milwaukee schools did with their arts immersion.
If there was one thing you could say to the public to persuade them to come see the show what would it be?
We’ve all worked very hard to make the show understandable to a modern audience. We haven’t changed the language but we say the words in a way that they make sense, as all Shakespeare should be spoken of course. Love is one of the main themes of the show and most of us can say we’ve been in love or have been affected by it one way or another. We see how it affects everyone in this play and I honestly think people will be able to relate if they gives it an honest chance. For those of you who know what it’s like to chase after someone, other have someone chase after you, I think you will especially enjoy this show
I talked specifically with Sarah about her role as Assistant Director.
Why did you want to Assistant Direct LLL?
I wanted to be the Assistant Director for LLL because I wanted the chance to be first involved in the show and second to get more of a well-rounded experience with a Shakespearean show. It’s the only Shakespeare show that the department has done since I started going here and will be the last since I graduate in May. I wanted to take the chance to study all the characters instead of just playing one, which is what I normally do as an actor; and I wanted the chance to watch all aspects of the show come together and feel as though I was a part of that.
Describe your basic duties.
It started in the summer when Jim Butchart, the director gave me the option to be his assistant director and told me to do research on the play and the period. I watched videos and read and re-read the play to get myself ready for rehearsals. I attended the production meetings which were about every week. I loved attending those because as an actor, you aren’t able to see the technical process of a show come together quite to that extent.
Why do shows like LLL have seminars?
I think having the seminar for LLL was beyond helpful and maybe even necessary. There was A LOT of work we had to get done and without those extra “rehearsals” in seminar, I feel that we would have felt pretty rushed. We spent most of seminar doing read-throughs of the play. All of the actors in the show came in with different Shakespearean experience levels, some with none and some with quite a bit. So it was a matter of getting everyone on the same page, even the Stage Management team. We also spent a good chunk of seminar time learning how to scan and translate the text which in a normal rehearsal process probably wouldn’t happen.
What has been your biggest challenge with LLL?
My biggest challenge was learning how to block a scene successfully. Jim allowed me to block a scene by myself which was great. I did however only have experience blocking and beyond that directing anything back in 2011 when I took the class called Directing 1 when I directed a 10 minute scene. It was kind of scary to be in charge of my own scene for LLL, but so much fun to direct something beyond anything I had attempted before.
What has been your biggest reward?
The biggest reward is to see something that I’ve helped to create and see it blossom in front of my eyes. It is amazing to see the amount of work and diligence that the actors in this Theatre Dept. put into their performances. They make it look so easy, even though I know it’s not just a walk in the park, especially for college students that are just starting their careers and maybe haven’t had a lot of time with Shakespeare before. Coming from the seat I’ve been sitting in as Assistant Director, I’ve seen every struggle, every surprise, and every success that this group of talented actors and designers have been through. Being a part of this show and seeing those moments is the best thing I can think of.
If there was one thing you would say to the public to get them to see the show what would it be?
This group of actors, coming from all levels of experience, have came together to provide such a great package to deliver to all audience members and I can’t wait to see people enjoy what we’ve worked so long and hard to create. The set as well is nothing like anything I’ve ever seen before. There is a pond on stage with actual water and you don’t see that every day! This show will provide 2 hours of laughs, love, and awe.
From Left to Right: Jennifer Samson, Jacob Lesh, Madison McCarthy, Stephanie Staszak,
and Hayley San Fillippo
Tickets for Love’s Labours Lost can be purchased Monday-Friday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm over the phone: 262-472-2222; in person at the Greenhill Center Box Office; or 24 hours a day online at http://tickets.uww.edu/. Prices are as follows: General Public: $10 Over 65: $8 Under 18: $5.50 UW-Whitewater Students w/valid ID: $4. 50 (update: Tuesday – Friday’s performances are sold out – tickets may become available each night but it is not likely. Purchase tickets ASAP to see this show on Saturday!)
Serena Sretenovich reporting from behind the curtain.