THEATER REVIEW: “Love’s Labor’s Lost” @ Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Gail M. Burns
Imagine sitting in a beautiful, verdant shaded dell on a perfect Berkshire summer’s evening. Even though busy Route 7 is in walking distance of where you are sitting, any sound of the traffic is muffled by the majestic old growth trees surrounding you. At the base of the gentle slope before you sits a tiny patch of a wooden stage, on to which a troupe of remarkably talented young actors bursts forth with tremendous energy to present a rollicking two hours of Shakespeare.
This happens every summer at The Dell at The Mount, located just behind the mansion’s Stables adjacent to the parking area, where Shakespeare & Company stages an abbreviated version of one of the Bard’s plays. In past years the shows have had strong name recognition – Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet – but this year the company has gone out on a limb and is presenting Love’s Labor’s Lost, an obscure early entry into the Bard’s canon that is seldom produced and little known to the general public.
But I implore you not to let the obscurity of the title put you off. Director Kelly Galvin’s condensation of the script trims off much that would be confounding to modern audiences and highlighted both the romance and the clowning at the core of the play. Her actors use the entire landscape of The Dell, rushing up and down hills, hiking through the forest, and creating merry mayhem wherever they go.