Because it's running in repertory with The Great Gatsby, Orlando Shakespeare Theater (Orlando Shakes) in Partnership with the University of Central Florida is setting William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost in a Roaring Twenties speakeasy. The play and its characters are also fodder for the company's annual mock trial.
Performances of Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Thomas Ouellette, began this week and will run to March 24. It officially opens tonight. The same cast opened F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby earlier in the month. Directed by Anne Hering, its run ends March 26.
“The 1920s is an ideal era to set Shakespeare’s romantic comedy in,” Jim Helsinger, artistic director at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, said in a press release. “The movement for women to have equal rights, a prominent topic during the Roaring Twenties, is highlighted in the way the Princess of France and her ladies outwit the King of Navarre and his three companions in Love’s Labour’s Lost.”
The play's plot starts with the King of Navarre, seeking to establish his court as an academy of learning, proclaiming a ban on interaction between men and women for a three-year period—a ban everybody breaks, of course. Thus, the characters themselves will be put on trial in Orlando Shakes' 9th Annual John R. Hamilton Mock Trial, March 14, at 7 p.m. at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
The center's Margeson Theater will transform into an interactive courtroom as actors from the show improv their way through the trial amidst a panel of celebrity judges. “We are excited to work with a Shakespeare comedy this year,” said Mock Trial Committee Leader Cory L. Taylor, partner at the law office of Cory Taylor, P.A., in a press release. "Audience members will laugh their way through the trial as the characters and advocates navigate their way through the comical case based on Love’s Labour’s Lost.”
The event also includes an opportunity to mingle with leading members of Central Florida’s legal, business, and artistic communities in a preshow VIP cocktail hour. Starting at 6 p.m., all VIP ticket holders are invited to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages.
Since 2009, Orlando Shakes has hosted mock trials that explore contemporary legal thought using classic plays as their template. Past mock trials have put Mother Nature on trial for the havoc she wrought on the characters in Shakespeare’s The Tempest and in Pericles, considered whether Shakespeare’s Hamlet was indeed insane when he killed Polonius, and addressed a contentious Darcy v. Wickham defamation lawsuit based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Tickets for the plays and the trial may be purchased by calling 407-447-1700 ext. 1, online at www.orlandoshakes.org, or in person at 812 East Rollins Street.
February 24, 2017