The Hudson Shakespeare Company of Jersey City kicks off its
24th Shakespeare in the Park series with a new twist on old favorite presenting a cross gendered “Love’s Labours Lost” where the men play the women and the women play the men. The show is running coming to: Saturday, June 20 at The Historic Jersey City and Harismus Cemetery at 435 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. A
suggested $10 donation will be charged at the door and
concessions are available.
When many of us are introduced to Shakespeare in school, one of the details that often stand out is that only male actors played all the parts. While this practice seems strange to us, it was the accepted convention that on the professional London stage only men were
considered suitable enough for a dubious profession of being “an actor”.
Despite the fact that it was illegal for women to be actors and women did appear on stage in England but in regional
religious festivals and on the professional stages of Spain, France and Italy. This curious English only practice was so
entrenched in their culture that even decades after
Shakespeare died and women finally came to the stage some of the
old guard actors decried the practice saying that actresses couldn’t truly depict women on the stage.
“Each season, Hudson Shakespeare likes putting new and fresh spins
on popular titles and exploring titles that audiences may not be normally exposed to,” said director Jon Ciccarelli. “Love’s Labours Lost on its own is a fun romp of a romantic comedy and a feast of Shakespearean poetry but we wanted to see how else to delve into what is essentially of men and women trying to outwit each other when it comes to seduction of the other gender. So we decided to take the commonly known Shakespeare practice of men playing all of the roles and expand it to having women take on male characters,” Ciccarelli said.
Ciccarelli urged that the show isn’t some treatment on
gender studies or making some bold statement but having fun
with the Shakespeare convention of cross gendering. “Shakespeare’s male actors did it their day and many of his other
plays feature cross dressed women who dress up as man, so we’re going more for what behaviors or attitudes make up what it
means to man or woman as played by the opposite gender and we’ve found there are really no hard fast characteristics. They run the gamut and “Love’s Labours Lost” is a hysterical play to explore how the other half lives”, he added.
Synopsis of the show:
The King of Navarre and his three companions –
Berowne, Dumaine and Longaville – commit to a life of study exiling
themselves from the pleasures of the world and women for whole three years. But they forget that a visiting part with the Princess of France and three of her ladies are coming on a diplomatic mission, throwing the plan into chaos. The men from Navarre trump each other in a scene in which they are overheard reading aloud
their bad love poems and seek to woo the ladies in strange disguises. However, the ladies are on to the guys and outwit them at their own
seduction. A comic sub-plot is weaved with Armado, a flamboyant Spaniard, his clever page, Moth, a country clown, Costard and a precocious dairymaid, Jaquenetta. Long winded love rhymes, switched up love notes, comic chase scenes, virtuostic verbal
exchanges and a bit some bearded Russians punctuate this delicious Shakespeare comedy through the lens of the opposite gender.
Hudson Shakespeare Company, now in its 24th season of traveling Shakespeare. The company will return in July with
the “Lost Shakespeare Play” The Murder of Thomas Arden of Faversham, a black comedy featuring a bunch of inept killers in their various pathetic attempts to dispose of a rich land owner with a twist ending. For more information visit
http://ellem-fair.wix.com/hudsonshakespeare or call 973 -449 7443.