THEATER: Shakespeare & Company Offers Rarely Seen “Love’s Labour’s Lost” [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Gail M. Burns and Roseann Cane
Roseann Cane: I had high hopes from the getgo when the charming and exuberant Tony Simotes bounced onto the stage to welcome us to the press opening of Love’s Labour’s Lost. As the play opened, his announcements continued over the radio – a 1940s-era radio whose purpose, I trust, was to transport the audience to what director Lisa Wolpe describes in her notes as “…the provocative backdrop of a post-war 1940s, a time of picking up the pieces while forging new ground in women’s rights and capabilities.”
Gail M. Burns: For a Shakespearean play, Love’s Labour’s Lost is just full of women, and Wolpe has added to their number by casting a woman, Paula Langton, as the schoolteacher Holofernes. She and her actresses also do a good job of giving the ladies distinct personalities, in spite of few spoken lines, (Did Alexandra Lincoln as Jaquenetta have more than five lines?), although they are undoubtedly drawing on clues in lines and scenes which Wolpe cut. She cut about a third of the text, and this production still runs two and a half hours. When Shakespeare & Company last mounted this play – outdoors to The Mount in 1999 – it ran three hours and I believe they made cuts then, too.