2012 Shakespeare Festival Brings Laughs, Music, Melodrama
By STEWART SMITH
The Bard is back.
Every year the Texas Shakespeare Festival proves why it is one of the most sought-after Shakespeare festivals in the country. Their productions are consistently fantastic with superb stage design and a crop of actors that always excels at delivering Shakespeare's prose. The company's production of "The Taming of the Shrew" in 2011 and "Two Gentlemen of Verona" remain personal favorites.
This year boasts a diverse lineup for the festival's 27th season, featuring a variety of genres, including comedy, melodrama, farce and even a musical.
"The Merry Wives of Windsor"
Last seen at the Texas Shakespeare Festival in 1998, "The Merry Wives of Windsor" is a comedic play featuring one of Shakespeare's most beloved characters, Sir John Falstaff. The fat knight finds himself kneck-deep in trouble when his plan to marry his way into money goes awry while attempting to court two women at the same time.
"The Merry Wives of Windsor" will be performed on June 28 and July 5, 7, 12, 14, 20, 22, 27 and 29.
"Measure for Measure"
Shakespeare's melodrama is set in Vienna at a time when immorality and depravity have nearly consumed the city. Duke Vincenito takes a leave of absence and appoints the ambitious Angelo to rule in his stead. But Angelo's desire to rule with an iron grip will have lasting consequences. Festival organizers describe "Measure for Measure" as an "arresting and emotional story about the lust for power, the power of lust and ultimate forgiveness."
"Measure for Measure" has been produced only once before by TSF. It will be performed on June 30 and July 6, 8, 13, 14, 19, 21, 26 and 28.
"The Cmplt Wrks
of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)"
What happens when three overly ambitious, overzealous actors attempt to perform everything Shakespeare ever wrote in 97 minutes? 97 minutes of hilarity, that's what. "The Cmplt Wrks" is filled with an abundance of physical comedy, bad wigs and an abundance of witty, zany moments (i.e. one of Shakespeare's tragedies is played as a cooking show). It's all but guaranteed you've never seen Shakespeare's work played quite like this. This is Shakespeare via The Marx Bros.
"The Cmplt Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)" will be performed July 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25. This production is a special fundraiser event and admission is not included in the regular season pass.
French playwright Pierre Corneille's 17th century farce (in a new adaptation by David Ives) tells the story of a swaggering young swain who seems incapable of telling the truth. Mistaken identities, misunderstandings and hilarious complications ensue.
"The Liar" will be performed June 29 and July 5, 7, 13, 15, 20, 22, 26 and 28.
This musical by Willy Russell (based loosely on the Alexandre Dumas novel "The Corsican Brothers") is something of a British phenomenon as is cited as the longest-running musical in the history of London's West End theatre. It was revived in 1988 and remains running to this day. The play follows the parallel but contrasting lives of two brothers who were separated at birth but become best friends despite efforts by their families to keep them separate.
"Blood Brothers" will be performed July 1, 6, 8, 12, 14, 19, 21, 27 and 29.
"Quest for the Lost Chalice"
Each year the festival presents a production aimed specifically at children, and this year's boasts an original script by Jason Richards. "Quest for the Lost Chalice" is an adventure tale about a brother and sister who enter an ancient land via the power of their imagination. There they must do battle with a dragon in order to defeat the evil forces who control the land.
"Quest for the Lost Chalice" will be performed July 18, 19, 21, 24-28 at 10 a.m. matinees only. Admission is not included in the regular season pass.
Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m., as well as additional 2 p.m. matinees on select dates. Admission is $29 per show, with a season pass available for $89. Matinee tickets are $24, seating on the padded bench back row is $23. Group rates are also available.
For additional information or to reserve tickets, visit the Texas Shakespeare Festival box office in the Anne Dean Turk Fine Arts Center on Hwy 259 South on the Kilgore College campus. Hours are 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Orders are also accepted via phone, 903-983-8601, by fax 903-983-8124, or by mail, TSF Ticket Office, 1100 Broadway, Kilgore, 75662.