Monday, July 12, 2010

To go or not to go... that is the question...

Our answer is GO and go now to this link to buy tickets! Wherefore art thou to go? Georgia Shakespeare. Yes, yes, we promise...that's the last of our poor attempts at Shakespeare-speak!

A couple of us from the Arts Across Georgia staff finally decided to check out Georgia Shakespeare Friday night. For quite some time we've been promoting the venue and have heard good things so we have no excuse as to why it took so long. We're hooked now though!

We went to see King Lear, one of Shakespeare's best known plays... OK, maybe most of you are more familiar with Romeo and Juliet, but King Lear is up there at the top of best known Shakespearean theater.

What an extraordinaire cast! What an outstanding venue! What fabulous people! It is top notch, first class and extremely well done. Every detail was perfect.

Yes, we like Georgia Shakespeare and King Lear just a little, you think?

The emotion in the play was almost draining. Even though it took our brains a few minutes to get into "Shakespeare lingo mode" we were right there with the phenomenal cast from the first second as they betrayed, maimed, killed, went mad and fought wars. The play is full of intrigue, carrying the viewer down paths of dark deeds and deeper thought.

It was a great re-introduction to the power of Shakespeare.

Lest you think all the plays at Georgia Shakespeare are only about doom, gloom and tawdry actions, we must tell you a bit about two other plays that are running in tandem with King Lear. The talented cast are in three, yes three, back-to-back Shakespeare productions. Yours truly couldn't memorize the first five minutes of dialogue, much less three separate plays!

Shrew: The Musical is one we're looking forward to enjoying next. We jokingly said it would serve as a cleansing of the emotional palette!

John Briggs, Director, notes, "The script remains fairly close to the original, although I updated most of the archaic pronouns and verbs."

The play is set in a hotel in Miami, Florida and a run-down dance studio in Virginia during the golden age of jazz and big bands. Music lovers will appreciate that it incorporates the music of Fats Waller, Harold Arlen, the Gershwins, Duke Ellington and other greats.

The third play, Love's Labour's Lost, is directed by Janice Akers. It's set in Navarre, a region between present-day France and Spain. In reading through the synopsis, we can clearly see that this play is going to be a hoot! A king vows to give up the company of women for three years, however the Princess of France is already on the way to visit with her entourage --- you know where things are headed! There are stories and sub-stories, all connected with a theme of love, money and the ever present mix ups that keeps audiences minds jumping and engaged!

Georgia Shakespeare is located on the beautiful Oglethorpe University campus.

Plan to come early to see the show as they have a covered picnic area and an open garden area set with tables and chairs for theater goers. Bring a cooler with your favorite foods or grab something from the snack bar. Wine and beer are permitted, and you can carry your favorite into the theater while you watch the play. No glass allowed though, so bring plastic cups.

Another reason to go early is the short synopsis they give prior to the show. I gather it's usually about half an hour before the show starts out in the garden area.

Opening night is extra fun! After the show the cast joins those who stick around for complementary wine, beer, coffee, champagne and desserts.

You'll definitely want to meet this cast! Tim McDonough was jaw-dropping awesome in King Lear and we can't wait to see him in his others roles in Shrew: The Musical and Love's Labour's Lost. While we have to rave about McDonough, we'd be remiss if we didn't highly commend every other actor in King Lear. They were all brilliant, unfortunately we've already gone long in raving about the play so can't devote the deserved time for each of the outstanding actors.

Have we convinced you that you must, must put Georgia Shakespeare on your list of "to dos"?  Hope so!

1) Tim McDonough as King Lear in Georgia Shakespeare's King Lear, running in repertory through August 7
2) Tim McDonough (King Lear) and Park Krausen (Cordelia) in Georgia Shakespeare's King Lear
3) Tim McDonough (King Lear) and Allan Edwards (Earl of Gloucester) in Georgia Shakespeare's King Lear
Photos by Bill DeLoach
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