Shakespeare and Company: Two Outdoor Performances
The Taming of the Shrew
In William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, the Bard baits us at every moment. We all long for a sweet love-life. Finding this requires, in this play, a whole lot of passionate listening, and in Shakespeare and Company’s outdoor production in the Dell at the Mount, director Kelly Galvin gave it to us. Among several fine young actors, Nick Nudler as Petruchio and Kirsten Peacock as Kate stole the show. In an extended pursuit of each other, love circled around with expectation. It took a while, but at last it became true realization, not just a true connection allowed for each lover to love without shame. The action extends beyond Petruchio’s and Kate’s nuptial event and is questionable in its location. These two young actors found blissful unity, even if it quieted down a bit at the end. There was wonderful acting from these two.
The outdoor venue at the Dell at the Mount provided a bucolic setting for us to imagine Padua and Verona. Call-and-response opportunities for the enthusiastic crowd made for some merriment and friendly exchange between the actors and their audience. Many thanks to the director and her troupe for a fun evening and energetic exploration of this tale of love and connection.
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Shakespeare and Company’s The Merry Wives of Windsor gave us a chance to once again see Nigel Gore command the performance. Gore as the merry, fat knight Falstaff, along with Martin Jason Asprey as Frank Ford, shone in this production. Asprey’s pretended energy really brought the house down. Gore’s Falstaff was not a comic event. Its main energy was confusion. To his credit, Nigel Gore did not in any way overplay the role. His Falstaff had a bewilderment and gave good advice ultimately to the rest of the characters. His Falstaff was both confused and gentle. Gore’s portrayal was just another example of the wonderful talent that he possesses (I’m remembering his beautiful Prospero in The Tempest two summers ago.) This Merry Wives was a sprawling event which kept its joy thanks to the very fine direction of Kevin Coleman. The bewilderment in this play lurks just beneath the laughter, and the length of the play presents some challenges for the actors. The outdoor arena required the actors to project their voices to the audience surrounding the stage on three sides. Some were clear and audible; others tended to shout. That said, it was a vital and beautiful production and a welcome opportunity to see this raucous comedy.