Kentucky Shakespeare’s Richard II

Today we bring you a play about the time when kings reined and all who opposed them were banished. That’s right! It’s Shakespeare’s Richard II, a great play about the battles taken and emotional strife caused by those who want to be king, and the kings themselves, playing now in Central Park by Kentucky Shakespeare.

The play opens with Henry Bolingbroke accusing Thomas Mowbray of treason. Both are banished from England by Richard II. Soon after, John of Gaunt, the father of Henry, dies. Richard seizes the property and denies Henry his father’s house and belongings. Trying to get back his life, Henry returns to England while Richard is at Ireland. What will happen when Richard returns? Who will be the new king? Find out in Richard II.

One of our favorite characters was Richard II because he started happy and you could see him change over time. We also liked that he showed compassion and mercy and accepted the fact that he could not be king. Our favorite scene was the trial between Henry and Thomas Mowbray because it was interesting and it was fun to see a battle of wits in between them. We also liked that it was toe to toe and had gut-busting Shakespearean-style humor. The part where gloves were thrown and punches were about to be thrown as well was especially funny. Another favorite character was Henry because he was full of wit; it was great to see the cunning remarks made by him. But in some cases he was kind, when his death was planned; he pardoned one of the planners out of the kindness in his heart. (Even though some would call it attempted murder)

Richard II a really good play. It is the first in the series of four plays called “Game of Kings” were you can see repeating actors play roles in tales of treachery and hope in an uncertain world. Kentucky Shakespeare is on the Cultural Pass  [Calendar here]. If you get a Festival Passport card punched at all the plays then you win a cool prize. This was an amazing play and we hope that you can come and see it.

Kentucky Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing

Hello, we are Turtle and Moose – back for the 2017 season of Kentucky Shakespeare. We saw the amazing comedy that is Much Ado about Nothing. The play opens with the Prince of Aragon having defeated his brother Don John and to celebrate the Prince and some of his men, Claudio and Benedick, went to masked ball held by the governor. Claudio, having seen the daughter of the governor, Hero, before going off to war and now returned, was now in love with Hero.  The Prince helped Claudio secure an engagement with Hero and they planned to be married the next week. Benedick’s friends tried to get him engaged with Beatrice, the governor’s niece and cousin of Hero, despite the constant snarky banter between Benedick and Beatrice. The plan was to get Benedick’s friends to talk of Beatrice loving Benedick and vice versa. Will Benedick and Beatrice fall for each other? Or while the plan crumble at its foundations. What will happen to Claudio and Hero – find out in Much Ado about Nothing!  One of our favorite characters was Benedick because he was a very sarcastic and cuttingly witty, but equally funny. Our other favorite character was Don John because he was an evil mastermind with a clever plan to stop love. One of our favorite scenes was when Benedick’s friends were talking and saying that Beatrice loved Benedick because it was hilarious to see Benedick try to hide in various places when they knew he was there the entire time. Our other favorite scene was the wedding because it was happy to see everyone be happy. Go see the show to see who gets married! We very highly recommend this show – it is truly wonderful.

Much Ado about Nothing runs every day except Monday now through Sunday, June 11th and then as part of the rotating repertoire July 12th through the 22nd. Kentucky Shakespeare is also part of the Louisville Cultural Pass which officially kicks off June 3rd through August 12th.

We’ve created a Google calendar of events for the Cultural Pass this summer so it’s easy to see what activities are available each day from June3rd to August 12th. Feel free to link to it and any corrections can be emailed to us at louisvilleartkids@gmail.com.

Louisville Ballet’s Shakespeare in Dance

Today I went to see Shakespeare in Dance at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. It was an amazing performance by the Louisville Ballet.

There are three parts to the show. First is Othello. It is a very powerful play and the movements showed who was in charge. I liked the part when Lago, played by Phillip Velinov, introduced everyone because it was very smooth like he knew something no one else did.

Next is the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene. I like how it is so happy and one could almost hear Juliet, played by Christy Corbitt Miller, say “Romeo, Oh Romeo. Where for art thou Romeo?” Romeo is played by Mark Krieger. It is also striking how easy it is to see that they are happy to see each other.

Finally, there is William’s Folly. I like this because it has many beautiful movements with everyone in exact lines and also because of the musicians. There is a cellist and a violinist, Scott Moore and Charlie Patton. They are also the composers and arrangers of the songs. They play amazing folkish music. A fun bit is that they use Shakespeare’s sonnets. One of the sonnets says to “hear the words with your eyes” which reminded me of the first two ballet scenes that didn’t have words. William Shakespeare was danced thoughtfully by Brandon Ragland, and spoken by Tony Milder and Megan Massie. They were very expressive and entertaining.

This was an amazing play. I hope you can come see it. It is the last play on the Kentucky Shakespeare Passport and it only shows Thursday through Sunday. If you have seen all of them and completed your Passport, you can get a prize.

 

Turtle

Globe Players’ As You Like It

Hello! I went to see the Globe Players’ As You Like It at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. It was a really good play and I enjoyed it a lot.

The play opens with Duke Senior being banished by his brother Duke Fredrick. Senior escapes to the Forest of Arden, while his daughter Rosalind stays at the court with her cousin Celia. Orlando tries to leave his unfair brother Oliver by trying to get his share of the fortune. Orlando and Rosalind meet and fall in love. Duke Fredrick banishes Rosalind. Rosalind (disguised as a boy named Ganymede), Celia (disguised as Aliena – sister of Ganymede), and Touchstone the fool leave to find Rosalind’s father in the Forest of Arden.

When they get to Arden they discover that someone has been posting love poems on trees and it turns out to be Orlando. Orlando meets Ganymede and Ganymede makes him act like he is Rosalind to cure his love for her. But for the other characters there is also love. A shepherd named Silvius loves Phoebe who is, in turn, in love with Ganymede. Celia falls in love with Aliena (that’s coincidental) and even Touchstone falls in love with Audrey. Soon Ganymede tries to fix up everything. He asks Phoebe if she will marry Silvius. Phoebe agrees so on the wedding day Ganymede reveals that she is Rosalind. She marries Orlando, Touchstone marries Audrey, Oliver marries Celia and Phoebe marries Silvius and all live happily ever after.

My favorite costume was Charles because he wore red and black shoulder pads with spikes. He also had a manager and an entourage. A really cool thing was all the singing and music. There were electric guitars, guitars, cello, and a banjo. There was also a really amazing dance scene at the end that was really well choreographed. My favorite character was Touchstone because he was funny and like everyone else was also in love. My favorite scene was the Charles wrestling scene because it was in fun to see Charles and Orlando.

Remember that Kentucky Shakespeare is on the Louisville Cultural Pass which is over this coming Saturday. There are two more shows in the park this summer – West Side Story and Shakespeare in Dance.

Moose

The Big Show – Kentucky Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Hi! It’s Turtle and Moose again to talk about the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival’s Romeo and Juliet. This is one of the most well-known plays of Shakespeare and is very tragic. “Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” Once of the most well-known openings in theatre and with it we learn that Romeo and Juliet will be a story of how two star-crossed lovers from rival families try to find a way to be together.

It starts with the Capulets and the Montagues fighting in the streets of Verona. This is one our favorite scenes because the action was very intense and even with the rain slowing the speed of the fight (for safety’s sake), it was still a thrill to watch. The Prince is angered and says that if there are any more fights between the families then they will be executed. Peter, played by Tony Milder, is a messenger for the Capulets and does not know how to read but he wants to know who he is supposed to invite to a grand party. He asks Romeo who happens to be on the street. Romeo, played by Crystian Wiltshire, is one of our favorite characters because he did everything in his power to see Juliet, played by Megan Massie, and was very intense both in love and in anger. Romeo is reading the list and finds the name Rosaline, with whom Romeo is desperately in love.

Romeo and his friends are not allowed at the party but they show up anyway in masks. Mercutio, played by Bryon Collie and one of Romeo’s friends, is another of our favorite characters because he is funny and sarcastic but is also very serious about his friends. Tybalt, played by Neill Robertson, Juliet’s cousin and a loyal Capulet, shows up and finds out Romeo’s true identity and is hot to avenge this injustice. He is stopped when he tells his uncle and his uncle tells him to leave Romeo alone. Romeo then meets Juliet while dancing and leaves with a heavy heart knowing that he could never be married with her. After the dance Juliet is looking out her window calling Romeo’s name and wishing he was not a Montague. Romeo, who climbed over the walls of the Capulet’s home, miraculously hears her. They talk and they decide to wed, in secret, the very next day.

After the wedding, Tybalt sees Romeo and tries to goad him into a fight but Romeo walks away and Mercutio ends up fighting Tybalt. Tybalt slays Mercutio and then Romeo slays Tybalt in revenge. Romeo is banished. Juliet takes a potion that makes it look like she is dead so she won’t have to marry Paris. Friar Lawrence will then reunite Romeo and Juliet. But the plan fails and Romeo thinks she is dead. Romeo rushes to her tomb with a poison and commits suicide in despair. When Juliet wakes up and finds out that Romeo actually is dead she commits suicide too. This is one of our favorite scenes because of the fight between Romeo and Paris, tragic because of the misunderstandings, and the ultimate tragedy that follows. The two families realize that their hate for each other has caused all of the deaths and make peace and live sadly ever after.

In the first half of the play, the costumes were of the traditional period style but in the second half, the dress because modern with jeans and suits and police in modern uniforms. We believe this is because modern rivalries have just as tragic outcomes as did the families of Verona, and perhaps we can learn from Shakespeare before it is too late.

This was an amazing play and we hope everyone goes to see it. Romeo and Juliet plays through next Tuesday, the 12th, and then all 3 Shakespeare shows will be in rotating rep. Don’t miss any of these shows!

Turtle and Moose

Kentucky Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Hi, this is Turtle and Moose, two gentlemen of Louisville, here to tell you about Kentucky Shakespeare’s play The Two Gentlemen of Verona. This version of the play is set in 1919 at the end of WWI. There are lots of fun musical numbers in this performance that make it feel more alive. It all starts in Verona when Valentine (played by Zachary Burrell) leaves for Milan while Proteus (played by Jon Patrick O’Brien) stays in Verona to woo Julia (played by Maggie Lou Rader). Neither know of each other’s love until a love letter from Proteus says otherwise. When Proteus gets the response, his father sends him to the Duke and Valentine meets him. Proteus finds out about the love between Silvia (played by Arielle Leverett) and Valentine. But he secretly likes Silvia too, so he tells the Duke that Valentine likes Silvia so Valentine is banished from Milan. Valentine soon meets a group of outlaws (played by Bryon Coolie, Neil Robertson, and Braden McCampbell) and becomes their leader. We know that this is a comedy, so somebody’s going to get married. Who will it be…?

Crab, played by Hope, is a very special part of the performance. She is a therapy dog and is breaking the boundaries of cute. Our favorite characters are Launce (played by Gregory Maupin) and Speed (played by Abagail Bailey Maupin). They are servants of the gentlemen of Verona. They are good friends just like their bosses and they have the best costumes of any of the male characters. We like how they sing duets together just like we do. One of our favorite scenes is the outcast/wilderness scene when Valentine finds a group of outlaws. It is amusing how Valentine started scared of them but ends up as their leader when he tells them he had killed a man (lies!). Our other favorite scene is the first scene which is a musical. We like how it sets the stage for the rest of the play and shows how colorful life is in Verona. It has a person riding a bike across the stage which we think is funny. It is also our first look at Crab the dog.

Remember that the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival series is on the Cultural Pass and that you get a special prize for seeing each of the plays. It was an amazing play and we expect more amazing Shakespeare later this summer.

Thanks for reading,

Turtle and Moose

Kentucky Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

Hello! We saw a great performance by Kentucky Shakespeare at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Twelfth Night, or What You Will, is an amazing comedy and the pranks are hilarious. We have to admit that the fancy indoor restrooms were a great bonus and how unusual it was to not be wearing shorts to see Shakespeare!

One of our favorite characters was Malvolio, played by Gregory Maupin, because he takes his letters very seriously. He believes everything in the letter even though he really doesn’t have any reason to. As a result, he acts crazy. Another favorite character was Feste, the fool, played by Alec Volz, because he was witty and he had many tricks up his sleeve. When he was trying to keep his job he told the guards to take the “other fool” away because he thought Olivia, his employer, was being foolish in trying to get rid of him.

One favorite scene was when Malvolio was trying to smile after the prank letter told him to. His smile was so forced that people thought he was crazy. He was dressed very unusually in cross-guarded yellow stockings. Another of our favorite scenes was the dark prison scene because it was really funny. Feste was imitating a priest who was supposed to take care of Malvolio who was locked up because everyone though he was crazy. Feste wanted to trick Malvolio because of Malvolio’s very severe nature.

Our favorite costume was the yellow stockings that Malvolio was wearing because they led to such a fuss that it made people think he was crazy. The scenery was really fun too. There was a cool house with stairs and a tree. There was a platform with pillars and a cool dungeon built into a vom that made lots of fog.

The beginning of the plot is that Viola thinks her brother Sebastian was killed in a shipwreck that stranded Viola on foreign shores. Viola decides to dress and act as a boy to gain employment with the Duke of Illyria. The Duke is in love with Olivia and sends Viola (as Cesario) to woo Olivia for him. But Olivia falls in love with Cesario and Viola falls in love with the Duke. We also see that Sebastian has survived the shipwreck. What will happen when Viola and Sebastian finally meet? How will the tangled pairs work out? Find out by coming to see Twelfth Night at the Kentucky Center. It shows every day through January 10th. We are also looking forward to the summer season of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Winter’s Tale, and Romeo and Juliet as well as the community productions, the Globe Players, and Shakespeare in the Parks and in the Libraries! You can never have too much Shakespeare.

Moose and Turtle