Aidan Cronin, Consul-General of Ireland, to Attend Season Opener of Shakespeare in the Park and Receive Proclamation from the City
July 09, 2013
WHO: Aidan Cronin, Consul-General of Ireland in Chicago; Councilman for District 6 and Old Louisville David James and Kentucky Shakespeare, the oldest free Shakespeare festival in the nation.
WHAT: The annual Shakespeare in the Park Festival is proud to feature Twelfth Night for its 54th season opener and welcome Irish Consul-General Aidan Cronin to enjoy Opening Night. Consul-General Cronin will also receive a Proclamation from the City of Louisville, presented by District 6 and Old Louisville Councilman David James.
WHEN: Thursday, June 20, 2013; 8:20 PM
WHERE: Central Park, 1340 S. Fourth St., Louisville, KY 40208
BACKGROUND: The annual Shakespeare in the Park festival is proud to feature Twelfth Night for its 54th season opener and honored to welcome Irish Consul-General Aidan Cronin as the special guest for Opening Night.
Cronin took up duty as the Consul-General of Ireland in Chicago on 22 August 2011 and was subsequently a member of the team that organized the visit of President Barack Obama to Ireland in May 2011, with lead responsibility for the President’s visit to his ancestral home in Moneygall, Co. Offaly.
Councilman David James will present Consul-General Cronin with a Proclamation from the City of Louisville this evening before the performance of Twelfth Night.
Running Tuesdays through Sundays June 20th – July 21st in Old Louisville’s Central Park, Shakespeare in the Park will feature pre-show entertainment on select nights at 7 PM before the 8:30pm curtain.
Tonight's Opening Night performance is sold out of VIP seating, however free bench and grass seating is available, plus a full-service bar serving Brown-Foreman products and a snack bar is available.
"Twelfth Night" Review, WFPL.com
July 01, 2013
By Erin Keane, WFPL.com. Published June 21, 2013.
The Kentucky Shakespeare Festival opened its 54th season last night with a winsome Celtic-styled “Twelfth Night, or What You Will.” Directed by producing artistic director Brantley Dunaway, this gender-switching, mistaken identity romantic comedy is sweet enough to serve as a date-night destination but sufficiently silly for a night out with friends, too. continue reading
A storm wrecks a ship off the coast of Illyria, separating spirited Viola (Madison Dunaway) from her twin brother, Sebastian (Kyle Curry), whom she assumes dead. These are dangerous times for a lady unaccompanied, so she dons men’s clothing and transforms into “Cesario” to enter into service with the local duke, Orsino (the quite funny John Pasha), a preening, love-sick goof mooning over his neighbor, Olivia (Rosie Ward).
Olivia won’t have him, so Orsino dispatches Cesario to woo her on his behalf, but Olivia gets the hots for Cesario (Viola in disguise, remember?) instead. Meanwhile, Viola finds herself developing romantic feelings for Orsino, but since he believes she’s a boy, she’s punted squarely into the friend zone. Sexual tension abounds.
This production skillfully highlights two divergent approaches to romance that play against type. Orsino, as it turns out, despite his self-indulgent wallowing and vanity, falls sincerely for Viola’s personality and spirit before he knows she’s really a woman, while Olivia’s attraction to “Cesario” is pure lust – and (spoiler alert!) she replaces him with Viola’s twin brother without missing a beat.
Indeed, once Sebastian enters the picture, one begins to suspect a more fitting subtitle for this play would be “Everyone’s a Little Near-sighted in Illyria,” as Dunaway and Curry are supposed to resemble each other so strongly that matching ponytails and costumes are enough to fool even their closest friends. Just go with it. And if the rom-com love triangle hijinks approach plays gender-bending attractions for laughs, they are redeemed by the dignity with which Antonio (Chris Ryan) is allowed to show his unwavering, if unrequited, love for Sebastian.
Meanwhile, as in many of Shakespeare’s comedies, the fools steal the show. “Twelfth Night” boasts a rich subplot of Olivia’s drunken court hangers-on and servants banding together to serve a come-uppance to her priggish steward Malvolio (Jonathan Visser). Amy Barrick is a firecracker as Olivia’s mischievous maid Maria, who, along with drunk-uncle Sir Toby (Paul Kiernan), undignified knight Sir Andrew (Brad Frazier), jester Feste (Peter Riopelle, a wry gem) and possibly-French servant Fabian (Matt Lytle), tricks Malvolio into believing Olivia loves him. Together, this group enjoys great comedic chemistry, and the interplay of Visser’s stork-like pomposity and Riopelle’s sly, self-possessed wit is especially delightful to watch.
The “fantasy Celtic” treatment layered over Shakespeare’s play is evident in all elements of design, from Jeffrey D. Kmiec’s luxe-rustic set (complete with working waterfall) and costume designer Shon LeBlanc’s leather kilts and Gaelic knots to Bentley Rhodes’ many original music compositions, played by an actual Irish folk band on stage. The music offers the most additional value to the production – who doesn’t like a little Irish music on a summer night under the stars? – but the mish-mash of accents on stage can distract at times (where did the French guy come from?).
Producing outdoor theatre can be a challenge under the best circumstances, and Kentucky Shakespeare has always done an admirable job of playing to the entire amphitheatre and working through the myriad distractions their Central Park location provides, low-flying airplanes and wailing sirens included. On opening night, the sound started out rocky (up-stage microphones seemed to work only intermittently) and grew worse, until it cut out entirely in Act II, followed by the lights. The cast soldiered on with good humor, and when the sound and lights were restored, the issues were fixed.
But the technical support of sound and lights can’t carry the burden of projection of every detail to the back of the amphitheater. One particularly tender close-up moment between Orsino and Viola – he paints a design on her arm as the musicians play – likely played well to the first few rows of VIP seating but, due to its position on stage, didn’t translate well even to the second row of bleachers. Unfortunately, the magic of small, intimate moments like that can dilute easily in the outdoor atmosphere.
If you haven’t been to a Shakespeare in the Park production in a few years, here’s a brief round-up of the changes: there’s bar service, so please don’t smuggle in a bottle of wine in your purse; the show is free, as it has been for 54 years, but the first six or so rows are ticketed VIP seats ($25, reserve in advance), which come with wait service.
“Twelfth Night” opens Thursday in the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre in Central Park and runs through July 14. The Players Conservatory, the festival’s high school acting troupe, will finish the season with “The Taming of the Shrew,” July 18-21.
"Twelfth Night" Review, Courier-Journal.com
June 28, 2013
By Elizabeth Kramer, Courier-Journal.com. Published June 21, 2013.
The waterfall is the first thing you notice. You see it even before the players step onstage for Kentucky Shakespeare’s production of “Twelfth Night.” It streams from below a huge home that surrounds it like an ancient version of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house. In Jeffrey D. Kmiec’s stage design, the house’s brick facade with a continuously smoking chimney blends with the surrounding trees of Louisville’s Central Park. continue reading
When the actors do arrive, they come from behind the audience. The Duke Orsino (John Pasha), with a band of troubadours on assorted instruments, gives the famous first line — “If music be the food of love play on.” While that gets lost in the commotion, the drama mounts when through that waterfall stumbles a shipwrecked young woman named Viola (Madison Dunaway) and her rescuer. In this unfamiliar country, she sets out to make her way by dressing as a boy and finding employment as a servant to the Duke.
While this launch into one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies, given a Celtic setting under the direction of Kentucky Shakespeare artistic producing director Brantley Dunaway, is a bit uneven, the story takes off when the comedy gets under way accompanied by music from the band interspersed in the action.
There is one mix of storylines concerning unrequited love. The Duke is in love with the wealthy countess Olivia (Rosie Ward), the lady who heads this massive house, but she ignores him, blaming her disinterest on the somewhat recent deaths of her father and brother. Then there is the conundrum Viola finds herself in, having the identity of a boy called Cesario but falling in love with the Duke while also trying to woo Olivia for him. It’s comical to a degree — mostly when Ward as Olivia throws herself at Viola, who is severely shaken but desperately tries to maintain her composure as she fends off the advance.
Yes, there is comedy there — but the real belly-laughing comes with the entrance of the rowdy crew that gallivants about the property drinking and carousing, headed by none other than Olivia’s uncle, Sir Toby Belch, whose name gives some insight into his constitution. Finely played by Paul Kiernan, Toby is not shy about his own flatulence and seems to always have a drink in his hand.
Kiernan, as well as many others in the cast, had to endure a power outage onstage at twilight on opening night. It had them acting without lights and working hard to speak louder to overcome the lack of an amplification system. It wasn’t hard to notice some company staff scrambling outside the seating area to get the power back up. With power restored about 15 minutes later, Kiernan as Toby posed to his gang, “Shall we tell you what you missed?” That wink to the audience provoked laugher and applause but didn’t slow the flow of the production.
Toby pals around with Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Brad Fraizer), whom he has invited to woo his niece. His crowd also includes several servants — Maria (Amy Barrick), Fabian (Matt Lytle) and Feste (Peter Riopelle), who is the fool or clown once employed and favored by Olivia’s father. Riopelle’s Feste is mostly a singer and the riddle maker of the group. Under Dunaway’s direction, the rest of the actors — Fraizer, Barrick and Lytle — make up a comical motley bunch with some great timing and the ability to perform humor that evokes Monty Python.
Aside from the buffoonery amongst themselves, these crew members also have tricks up their sleeves for one of Olivia’s high-ranking servants — Malvolio. In this role, the lanky and red-headed Jonathan Visser uses his voice and his long limbs to embody his character’s pompous nature. It becomes the root of his downfall and comeuppance when Maria, whom Barrick embodies with beguiling aplomb, sets off a scheme involving a fake letter from Olivia to Malvolio declaring his lady’s love for him. Malvolio, who has a secret crush on her, is so delightfully giddy at the prospect, giving the audience some of this production’s sweetest and most hilarious moments.
"Twelfth Night" Review, Arts-Louisville.com
June 28, 2013
By Keith Waits, Arts-Louisville.com. Published June 23, 2013.
By William Shakespeare
Presented by Kentucky Shakespeare
Directed by Brantley Dunaway
Reviewed by Keith Waits
Entire contents are copyright ©2013 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
It begins with the set. Brilliantly conceived by Jeffrey D. Kmiec, it is a splendid multi-level design that blends elements representing the man-made and nature in harmonious balance and features a waterfall center stage. It is a stage built for an expansive staging; and, for the most part, that is exactly what is delivered in this Twelfth Night.
The story of Viola and Sebastian, separated after a shipwreck in the country of Illyria, and Viola’s gender-crossing masquerade as Cesario has long been a favorite among Shakespeare’s comedies. The situation of a woman pretending to be a man and mistaken placement of romantic affections are common enough in his plays, yet their positioning within this plot provides an especially good opportunity to investigate the nature of attraction and how it may subvert our planned desires for something altogether unexpected. As the resolution plays out in the final scenes, true love may be present, but so is the breakdown of vanity and proof that the heart can be fickle and easily tricked in cruel fashion.
Brantley Dunaway’s production employs a Celtic theme for its setting, which makes for handsome design (although Orsino’s too-much-like-a-tunic costume was annoying and stood apart from the rest of the, mostly, striking costumes) and invites a hodge-podge of accents. But the playing was sound and sometimes more so. Madison Dunaway is a winsome and intelligent Viola, and Rosie Ward as Olivia, John Pasha as Orsino and Kyle Curry as Sebastian are all worthy and effective. Yet the lovers' stories never seem quite as inspired as the work of the characters central to the comedy.
Brad Fraizer is a wonderful Sir Andrew Aguecheek – a true clown in the richest sense, who can riddle each line with delicate comic nuance and bring the slapstick in great measure. He is ably supported by Paul Kiernan as Sir Toby Belch, whose work is very nearly the match of his partner in crime. Matt Lytle’s Fabian and Amy Barrick’s Maria contribute meaningful complement to two more showcased roles.
The character of Feste, the jester to Orsinos’s court, sings in the story; and the songs are perhaps given a larger role than in most productions, with five skilled musicians and a good vocalist to deliver them in Peter Riopelle. Familiar to local audiences from productions of 1776 and Guys and Dolls at Music Theatre Louisville, the musical theatre veteran is a wise choice not only for his singing abilities but because he is a fine comic actor as well. The songs interject a wistful note into the farce, and Mr. Riopelle’s delivery is plaintive yet memorable.
Twelfth Night also contains one of the most sought-after roles in Shakespeare: Olivia’s servant, Malvolio. Jonathan Visser makes a vivid impression, tall, lanky and topped with a shock of ginger hair. He underplays at first, allowing his physical presence to fully register as he builds a foundation for the character. As the plot thickens and he is greatly abused by a scheme to embarrass him, Mr. Visser fleshes out Malvolio’s suffering as certainly as he manages the most confident accent of the evening – a smart and potent mixture of comedy and pathos.
Malvolio’s scene in which he reads the letter wherein he comes to believe Olivia is professing love for him takes the fullest advantage of Mr. Kmiec’s wonderful stage, as Aguecheek, Toby and Fabian maneuver through every conceivable nook, cranny, platform, staircase and balcony perch so that the hapless Malvolio seems to be unconsciously chasing them up to the last refuge before exiting the stage.
The language is clear; the pace and tone give the story room to breathe; and as the sun sets and the lighting brings the production and the play into focus, this must be counted as a success for Kentucky Shakespeare.
"Much Ado About Nothing" review
July 15, 2012
By Rachel White, Arts-Louisville.com, Published July 15, 2012
Much Ado About Nothing
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jane Page
Reviewed by Rachel White
Entire contents are copyright © 2012 Rachel White. All rights reserved.
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival’s production of Much Ado About Nothing claims to be Gunsmoke meets Shakespeare and melds the campy television American western style with the heightened Renaissance poetry of Shakespeare. In so doing, it turns Much Ado About Nothing into a slapstick romantic western comedy.
"We the People" in Bowling Green City Schools
April 05, 2012
By LAUREL WILSON The Daily News email@example.com, Published April 5, 2012
A touring theater group made stops in several city schools over the last few days to perform scenes from American history.
Living History: We the People education program, presented by members of the Kentucky Shakespeare troupe, included scenes from the American Revolution through the Civil War. The three-person show demonstrates how the country is shaped by its citizens and why it’s so important to participate in democracy.
Shaking up Shakespeare: Jeffersonville Elementary students learn playwright's work
April 04, 2012
By newsandtribune.com - JEROD CLAPP | Published: April 4, 2012
JEFFERSONVILLE — After the show, audience members talked a little about romance amidst feuding and the price two lovers were willing to pay to spend eternity together.
But these onlookers haven’t even started middle school yet.
Festival Enjoys Shakespeare With Shakesbeer
June 24, 2010
Louisville, KY- For the first time in Kentucky Shakespeare history, the Festival is including beer and wine in concession sales, thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors Bluegrass Brewing Company, LLC and Brown-Forman. Select Brown-Forman wines and the BBC's special brew, fondly named Shakesbeer, are for sale in the amphitheater for $5 a glass or pint.
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival Announces 49th Season
of Summer Shakespeare
June 23, 2009
Louisville, KY – Under the leadership of new Producing Artistic Director Anthony Patton, the 49th Summer Festival of Free Shakespeare in Central Park will present two of William Shakespeare’s masterworks, Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet. These plays are two of the most popular works of Shakespeare and offer a great opportunity for families and friends to gather and enjoy a free professional performing arts event!
Keep Shakespeare Free! Take a Chance for Derby/Oaks Tickets!
April 30, 2009
Louisville, KY - Kentucky Shakespeare Festival is selling 500 raffle tickets at $50 each to support free Shakespeare in Central Park. First place prize in the raffle will be a clubhouse box for the Kentucky Derby®.
2008 KSF Audubon Youth Development Center Review
February 17, 2008
"Men at some time are masters of their fates"
- 'Julius Caesar', Act I, Scene II
February 17, 2008
Reviews from the 2008 Performances of Julius Caesar and Pericles.