Love is blind, fickle and hilarious in this yearâ€™s performance of William Shakespeareâ€™s â€œThe Two Gentlemen of Verona.â€
On July 1, the CSU School of the Arts brought the show out of the cold and into the moonlit University Theatre for almost two hours of Shakespearean comedy.
Described as a 12th century â€œbromance,â€ â€œThe Two Gentlemen of Veronaâ€ is a love triangle involving two good friends in Italy vying for the attention of the same woman. Love-struck Proteus promises himself to maid Julia, only to fall for the duke of Milanâ€™s daughter Silvia, who is betrothed to Proteusâ€™ best friend Valentine.
The players attempt to sort out their tangled love affair while falling into deception, gender bending and sword fights.
This yearâ€™s plays are held inside in case of bad weather, but faux stars and a waning moon provide enough outdoor atmosphere in the comfort of a chair.
â€œI have rarely directed Shakespeare before. My impression of his plays is that they are remarkably resilient to time, their themes remaining relevant to contemporary performers and audiences,â€ said Director and CSU theatre professor Laura Jones in an e-mail to the Collegian.
CSU theatre alumnus Judd Farner enjoyed being comedic relief in last yearâ€™s performance of â€œA Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dreamâ€ so much that he tried out for the part of a sidekick, but was instead given the part of manipulative Proteus.
â€œThis was a really different process for me because Iâ€™m so used to playing side characters. So this was my first big role for myself,â€ Farner said.
The University Center for the Arts is also playing the classic love story of â€œRomeo and Julietâ€ featuring many of the same actors, which proved to be a bit challenging.
Senior Ben Wasser, who playâ€™s Valentineâ€™s honest and clever servant Speed, also appeared in last yearâ€™s Shakespeare at Sunset, and said he enjoys roles that involve physical comedy.
â€œIf youâ€™re going to theatre or do anything with performing on stage or in film, youâ€™re going to run into Shakespeare, no matter what,â€ Wasser said.
Sophomore Meghan Conner joined the cast this year and said she decided to add her own strength to her role as the Duke of Milanâ€™s daughter Silvia.
The character, she said, was too fragile and by adding her own spice to Silviaâ€™s personality because sheâ€™s â€œone about women empowerment.â€
â€œIâ€™m super excited that I got this role and itâ€™s been really fun to play with,â€ Conner said.
All but six of the actors also participate in â€œRomeo and Juliet,â€ which runs through the summer.
â€œâ€˜Romeo and Juliet,â€™ while it is exciting and fun to do to, obviously itâ€™s a lot more serious,â€ Conner said. â€œSo itâ€™s definitely been difficult to switch between those roles.â€
Two canine companions, played by Farner and Jonesâ€™ own pets, joined the players. Jonesâ€™ dog Indiana â€œIndyâ€ Jones made his acting debut as servant Lances faithful dog Crab.
Jones said his family has kept numerous house pets over the years, including a dozen dogs. Heâ€™s never used one of them onstage before.
â€œBut Indiana â€œIndyâ€ Jones is perfect for the part because no special training is required,â€ Jones said. â€œThe whole idea is that Lanceâ€™s dog is a â€˜stoneâ€™ who does nothing.â€
Shakespeare at Sunset is showing most nights this summer at 7 p.m. until July 25 at the University Theatre on 1400 Remington St. It is $10 for adults and free for kids 17 years old and younger.
Crime Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.