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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Merry Note

The Flatwater Youth version of Love’s Labor’s Lost, presented in conjunction with Flatwater’s mainstage production, features a talented ensemble of actors who build wonderfully on their past shared experience with Shakespeare.

In the play, the King of Navarre (Paden Alexander) and his friends Berowne and Longaville (Jackson Fisher and Jay Colwell) swear an oath that they will devote themselves to study and turn away from life’s other pleasures. Their resolve soon fades when the Princess of France (Petrea Whittier, seen above) arrives on a diplomatic embassy in the company of two ladies-in-waiting (Ellie Tassler and Shelby Krause).

Love also asserts its power on the grandiloquent soldier Armado (Emma Gruhl) and the dairymaid Jaquenetta (Noemi Berkowitz), along with schoolmistress Judith (Shauna Krause) and minister Nathaniel (Rishi Ragsdale) – all observed by the sly swain Costard (Reed Baillie).

As one student actor observed in rehearsal, "there are too many letters" in the play: misdirected love notes both complicate matters and help make all things clear. The cast also includes Sadie Fisher, Emily Kollars, and Katie Tassler.

Flatwater Youth Director Tom Crew and Assistant Director Julie Kinkennon (who plays Katharine in the mainstage show) guide the students. The script, adapted by Education Director Stephen Buhler, keeps Shakespeare’s language but balances the number of male and female roles. The production also offers some very Shakespearean cross-gender casting.

Flatwater is committed to helping Lincoln student actors come to a fuller understanding of Shakespeare’s works by performing them on stage. Love’s Labor’s Lost, Flatwater Youth’s fourth production at the Swan, is supported by a grant from the Lincoln Arts Council. For more information about Flatwater and about reservations, go to http://www.flatwatershakespeare.org/.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Such Eruptions and Sudden Breaking-Out of Mirth

Flatwater Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost continues for two more weekends at the Swan at Wyuka, starting Thursday.

Some quick observations from the opening performances:

Annemarie Aspengren contributes evocative music throughout the show, culminating in a Gilbert-and-Sullivanesque setting for the final song.

Will Bennett and Tom Bolin alternate admirably as Forester / Marcade.

Alice Bolin is charmingly vulnerable as Jaquenetta.

Rob Burt, as Longaville, combines elegance with appealing insecurity.

Sam Colwell almost steals the show as Moth.

Stephen A. Gaines, as Nathaniel, offers a priceless version of the actor’s nightmare.

Richard Imig, in the role of Dull, provides wonderful grounding and reactions.

Amy Jirsa is luminous with bright wit and warm affection as Rosaline.

Julie Kinkennon, as Katharine, delivers wit sharply – and self-protectively.

Larry Mota, in the role of Costard, contributes breathtakingly quick comebacks.

Dick Nielsen, as Holofernes, creates a completely ludicrous and sympathetic character.

Dave Owens convincingly conveys both authority and chagrin as the King of Navarre.

Sean Schmeits inflects Berowne’s compelling language with lofty scorn and humble hurt.

Rich Sibley, as Boyet, channels Maurice Chevalier’s experienced Gallic wisdom.

Jan Stauffer has created lovely period costumes and hilarious garb for the "Muscovites" and the Worthies.

Clay Stevens embodies youthful zeal for honor and love.

Fred Stuart, as Armado, creates a completely sympathetic and ludicrous character.

Lettie Van Hemert is commanding and irresistible as the Princess of France.

Mikael Walter, as Maria, is shyly assertive.

Michelle Zinke and Deb Waechter, from backstage, make it all work.

Ember Schrag gets things started engagingly with her songs.

And, oh yes, I guess Bob Hall did OK as director.

Call 484-7640 for tickets! Or visit www.flatwatershakespeare.org

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Some Delightful Ostentation

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company production of Love's Labor's Lost opens this Thursday, June 7, at the Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery, 3600 "O" Street in Lincoln.

The show continues June 8-10, June 14-17, and June 21-24. Festival Passes, each good for three admissions (all to one production or one to each production in the 2007 season) are available at $45 for adults, $36 for students and seniors. Individual tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for students and seniors. Group rates are also available. Call 484-7640 for reservations.

Show time is 7:30 p.m., but plan on getting to the theatre early. Starting around 7:10 p.m. each evening, singer-songwriter Ember Schrag will perform a few of her original compositions, including some for Nick's Dream -- a collaborative project bringing together Ember's songs with Shakespeare's words as rearranged by Stephen Buhler. A co-production of Flatwater Shakespeare with Judith K. Hart and the Angels Company, a staged version of the project will conclude the 2007 Flatwater Season.