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Aug. 18, 2005
than a serpent's tooth!
by ELLIN BELTZ
Last YEAR AT THIS TIME, IT WAS
MY GREAT PLEASURE TO experience Shakespeare at Benbow Lake for
the first time, as a guest of one of the multitudinous volunteers
who put on this annual shindig.
This year, the 23rd season of
Shakespeare at Benbow Lake brings back the Festival Theatre Ensemble
for three different plays during a two-week run. First up, the
romantic comedy Two Gentleman of Verona, on Thursday,
August 18, Saturday, August 20, and Friday, August 26. The play
is one of the funniest in the Folio if you can suspend all disbelief
at the plot. In that way it presages the theater of the absurd,
which was supposedly
"invented" in the 1950s.
Bring the kids to either of
two performances of That Rascal Scapin, a non-Shakespeare
comedy show, on Sunday, August 21, and Thursday, August 25. Their
children's show last year was rated a winner by the youngsters
I know who saw it.
[PHOTO AT RIGHT:
DE LES DERNIER AS LEAR AND CHRISTINE SLIVA AS HIS FOOL IN KING
LEAR . PHOTO BY MARY ELLEN KASCHUB.]
The other offering this year
is ambitious and timely for our world at war. King Lear
is considered one of the greatest tragedies in the English language.
Don't let the five acts put you off; while it's one of the longest
plays in number of lines, the speed of the action, the villainy
and the politics will drag you along like a house on fire. This
company has the gift of Shakespearean tongue, a wonderful interactive
camaraderie, significant theatrical skills and a gem of a director,
Bruce De Les Dernier, who plays the King in the current production.
Come see his Lear, especially if you've never dared before, on
Friday, August 19, or Saturday, August 27.
Unlike some of the Bard's other
plays, this one is not based on actual figures from history --
there was no real King Lear. Instead, this classic tale is based
on the age-long struggles for power between nobles, kings and
nations. King Lear will make you reexamine every one of
your personal relationships for weeks to come.
Wanting to retire, narcissistic
King Lear gives away his power by dividing his kingdom between
his daughters, Goneril and Regan, who claim to love him, while
giving nothing to his youngest, Cordelia, who truly loves him.
When Lear banishes Cordelia, she's quickly wed by the King of
France, giving France an interest in the English crown.
The evil sisters' true natures
eventually surface as they compete for the affections and allegiances
of the kingdom's powerful nobles. The King begins to slide into
madness as his belief system is challenged and his land spirals
into cruelty, torture, war and anarchy.
Reconciliation and death end
the drama, but not its messages of power won and lost for true
and false causes; of wars begun due to misunderstandings and
unable to be ended by truth; and of the human spirit, essentially
unending and unchanged from the time the play was written until
Catered dinners are offered
from 6-7:30 p.m. before all shows, with excellent local entertainment
before the 8 p.m. curtain time. For dinner reservations and tickets,
or tickets alone, call 866-468-3399 toll-free Monday through
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or order tickets online at their
informative website: www.shakespearebenbow.com.
Humboldt Light Opera Company
presents Beauty and the Beast, continuing on Friday, August
19, and Saturday, August 20, at 7:30 p.m. at Humboldt State University's
Van Duzer Theatre in Arcata. Directed by Carol Ryder, more than
50 cast members bring to life the play, adapted from the Academy-Award
winning Disney movie.
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