Feb 27, 2007

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” approaching its last weekend

by Hillary Sutton, Life! Reporter
William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” begins the Liberty University Theatre Arts Department’s spring semester of productions. Two of the three weekends of shows have been completed. The curtain rose on Feb. 16, but four performances remain for patrons to enjoy from March 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on March 3 at 2 p.m.

A cast of 10 plays the 16 roles within the show. With a minimal set and contemporary costuming, the production, directed by Professor Neal Brasher, is far from conventional. The actors all remain on stage throughout the entire show, seated in chairs behind the action.

When an actor leaves the scene, he or she returns to his or her seat, stands and faces away from the commencing action for a few moments and then breaks to sit back down and get ready for his or her next entrance by changing costume pieces, gathering props, or even adjusting hairstyles.
When asked if he was preparing for his next entrance in between his scenes, junior David Brady said, “Nope. I’m just enjoying the show with the rest of the audience.”

Other aspects of the show also contribute to making this classic piece original and fresh. Unbeknownst to an unsuspecting audience, the cast mills about the theater and the foyer before the show begins.

Before a Saturday matinee, actress Mary Hussey leaned against the wall, watching audience members find their seats. She was asked if she was running through her lines in her head. Without missing a beat, she said, “It’s all up here.”
Impressive, indeed.

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” is the story of a King and his three lords (played by Justin Petrochko, Jon Kafoure, Andy Geffken and Alex O’Kagu) who swear off women for three years. The trouble begins when they become smitten with the Princess of France and her three lovely ladies (Sarah Hooks, Rachel Marcussen, Erica Smith, and Mary Hussey).

With Shakespeare’s brilliant pen, this script full of letters that get into the wrong hands, secret decrees of love and a hilarious play-within-the-play, keeps its audience entranced and eager to see what will occur next.

Leslie Hagar, a senior communications major, said, “I really enjoyed this play a lot. The cast was so talented and the language was beautiful. I want to go buy a copy of the script now because there were so many lines that I loved.”

Many aspects of this particular performance were enjoyable. One unique aspect of this performance of the classic comedy is the disappearing fourth wall, where the actors sometimes acknowledge the audience members and sometimes ignore them. The actors use the audience to enhance the humor in certain moments — often when the audience least expects it.

The actors who were double-cast also contribute to the entertainment quality of the show. One actress in particular, Mary Hussey, plays both one of the princess’s ladies and a male philosopher.
It is an unusual experience to get to observe an actor or actress showcase such a contrast — playing a silly spoiled girl and then transitioning into a stiff, refined academic man.

Additionally, Robert Sanderson plays a “country boy” officer and a flamboyant messenger for the princess.

The versatility of this cast’s members, coupled with the fact that they memorized and understood Shakespeare, makes “Love’s Labour’s Lost” truly a worthwhile performance to enjoy.

Contact Hilary Sutton at hlsutton@liberty.edu.

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