Photo. Marianne Duval.
There’s a lovely moment early in the University of Ottawa’s production of Love’s Labour’s Lost when Ryan Young, in the role of an affable rustic named Costard. lopes into view and plunges into some nimble word play involving the words “manner” and “form.”
The sequence is a showy indulgence, like so much of this early Shakespearean comedy, but it leaves you in a forgiving mood. An essential requirement of the play is being met: we are getting a delightful fusion of language and character.
It happens again in the scenes involving that fantastical Spaniard, Don Adriano de Armado, portrayed with delicate affectation by an excellent Darcy Smith, and his precocious page, Moth, played with appropriate merriment by Sine Robinson. Language is again the driving force here — with the play’s penchant for elaborate and mannered speech being stretched to its extreme here — but Smith remains grounded in his character. Don Adriano may be a parody of the courtly lover, but here it’s a genuinely affectionate one
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Photos: Marianne Duval.
A joyous romp in the state of Navarre (betweenthe current French and Spanish border) on a glowing autumn set designed by John Doucet where 16 student actors cut their acting teeth with the most difficult playwright of the English language! Not an easy thing to do. Apparently this is the first Shakespeare that the University of Ottawa theatre department has done in the past 15 years. Adaptations of Shakespeare have been produced but this one remained fairly close to the original with some cuts in the enormously long monologues which would exhaust any actor.
The King of Navarre declares that all his lords must sign an oath of chastity for three years! This becomes difficult when the ladies from the French court arrive in all their beautiful dresses (thanks to Vanessa Imeson) and sexy hairdos (thanks to Sydney Miller) and swoop into the midst of these nervous young Spanish lords. Their visit has political reasons but it soon takes another turn. The young men all fall in love, passionate love letters are secretly exchanged, sent to the wrong ladies and they all have to admit to their hypocrisy which becomes exacerbated as they try to woo back their loves by heightening their theatrical concoctions which create wonderful moments of popular comic theatre within theatre. However, the ladies of the French court are even more disappointed.
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