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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ten Years of Open-Air Comedy



Come celebrate 10 years of open-air comedy at the Swan Theatre.

In the summer of 2001, Bob Hall acted upon a vision shared with Suzanne Evans, Doug Evans, and a few others. He transformed the Carriage House at Lincoln’s historic Wyuka Cemetery and Park into the Swan, an Elizabethan-style playhouse, bringing Shakespeare’s artistry into the new millenium. From that first production of Twelfth Night to last June’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hall and company’s take on Shakespearean comedy has delighted Lincoln audiences with timeless and timely antics, insights, wit, and heart.

The tradition continues this summer as The Flatwater Shakespeare Company presents The Two Gentlemen of Verona in the Swan Theatre at Wyuka, 3600 O Street in Lincoln, beginning Thursday, June 10, at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue Friday-Sunday, June 11-13; and Thursday-Sunday, June 17-20 and 24-27. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Call 473-2897 for reservations.

Recipient of a 2010 Nebraska Artist of the Year award, director Bob Hall has set this early, silly, but sophisticated comedy in the 1930s, where it fits comfortably in the world of Noel Coward and Cole Porter. In the movie Shakespeare in Love, one character summarizes this play as “love and a bit with a dog.” But much more is going on.

Maybe friendship is selfless while love is selfish. If so, a would-be lover can betray a friend and a former beloved, while attempting to force himself on his new beloved – all in the name of love. So gentleman Proteus makes sure that his friend, gentleman Valentine, is banished. He abandons the lady Julia and obsesses on the lady Silvia. Along the way, Julia assumes male disguise in order to follow Proteus, thus witnessing all his misdeeds. Somehow all this leads to a happy ending, with the help of a foolish rival, two clowns, several outlaws, and a dog named Crab.

The production features Gage Wallace and Darin Hemmer as Proteus and Valentine, the Two Gentlemen of the title, along with Maya Naff as Julia and Petrea Whittier as Silvia. Other performers include Flatwater regulars Will Bennett, Tom Crew, Robie Hayek, Clay Stevens, and Dustin Witte. Joining Flatwater for this show are Andy Dillehay, Mike Lee, Emily Martinez, and Bret Olsen. The stage manager is Michelle Zinke. Costumes are by Janice Stauffer, with set construction by Richard Imig and lighting design by Richard Schroder. The sound design is a collaboration between director Hall and dramaturg Stephen Buhler.

The Flatwater Youth production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by Tom Crew, will be presented at the Swan Theatre on June 21, 22, and 23. Show time is 7 p.m. Call 473-2897 for tickets and information. In September, Flatwater will present Shakespeare’s magnificent Antony and Cleopatra under the stars at the Swan.

Flatwater Shakespeare is a professional not-for-profit theatre company, dedicated to bringing audiences the richness of the works of William Shakespeare as they were meant to be experienced – played out by a dynamic ensemble of performers on stage. For more information about Flatwater, go to And you can follow us on Facebook, too!

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Dates: June 10-13, 17-20, 24-27
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: The Swan Theatre at Wyuka, 3600 O St. Lincoln
Tickets: (402) 473-2897
$18 Adults; $15 Seniors; $10 Students


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"From that first production of Twelfth Night to last June’s The Merry Wives of Windsor..." what about Caesar?

6:15 AM  
Blogger Flatwater Shakespeare said...

We're pretty sure that wasn't a comedy -- as in "open-air comedy" and "Shakespearean comedy." Wait for September's *Antony and Cleopatra* for the tragic material (which didn't reach the Swan until years later).

9:12 AM  

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