BWW Previews: Kentucky Shakespeare Brings in the Community

BWW Previews: Kentucky Shakespeare Brings in the Community

After wrapping three grand mainstage productions that have run over seven weeks, would you believe Kentucky Shakespeare's summer season in Central Park is only half-over?

Only thing is, you've got just two weeks to catch the rest.

This weekend marks the beginning of Kentucky Shakespeare's Community Partners selections in the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater. If you have already caught the core company trifecta of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Henry V" and "Hamlet," as well as the premiere of its annual student company show, "Love's Labour's Lost," you can earn a free Kentucky Shakespeare T-shirt by catching all the remaining productions.

Here's a preview of what's to come:

"As You Like It," presented by Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble

Some familiar faces from the main-stage season will reappear in a piece all their own as the six-actor Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble revives their highly regarded 2009 adaptation of the comedy "As You Like It," last seen in the compact confines of The Rudyard Kipling in Old Louisville.

Le Petomane brings imaginative elements such as masks and puppets to their productions to enable six actors to perform densely populated plays. "As You Like It" will actually be a curtain call for the incredibly popular ensemble, which is disbanding after the production.

"The first show the six of us did was a Shakespeare, and when we invited everyone to do that, I think five-sixths of us had a current or recent connection to Kentucky Shakespeare. (Since then, we've brought that up to six-sixths)," said Le Petomane co-artistic director Gregory Maupin. "To go out as partners with this other company that's been such a part of all our lives both as theatre makers and goers over the years is pretty special."

"As You Like It" runs Aug. 5, 7 and 9.

"Pericles, Prince of Tyre," presented by Walden Theatre

The student performers at Walden Theatre will revive their May production of "Pericles, Prince of Tyre," directed by Julane Havens. The conservatory produced the tale of royal tragedies and triumphs as part of its Young American Shakespeare Festival.

The show contains a bit of history for Havens: she appeared in the Kentucky Shakespeare's 2008 production, the last directed for the company by former artistic head Curt Tofteland.

"It is an honor for me to work on it again in the park," she said.

"Pericles" runs Aug. 6, 8 and 10.

"Women of Will," presented by ShoeString Productions

Audiences will experience not one, but several of Shakespeare's works from the perspective of his female characters in ShoeString Productions' "Women of Will." Four actresses playing both womens' and mens' roles will present an intricately woven series of encounters between many diverse characters.

"'Women of Will' is a wonderful opportunity to range the wide diversity of Shakespeare's women next to each other, to appreciate their wit, their verve, their dexterity," said director Kathi E.B. Ellis. "ShoeString is very fortunate that the four actresses portraying the almost forty women are all very familiar with Shakespeare's canon, and thus bring detailed knowledge of so many of these characters to the process of creating highly textured cameos for this production."

"Women of Will" runs Aug. 12, 14 and 16.

"King Lear," presented by Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company

The summer season ends on an epic note with "King Lear" presented by Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company. Co-directed by J. Barrett Cooper and Alec Volz, the play marks both the close of Kentucky Shakespeare's season and a swan song for Cooper, who will be appearing on the Central Park stage for the first time in his final local production before heading to California to teach theater at Idyllwild Arts Academy.

"It's kind of synchronicity that it's kind of the swan song and we just happen to be doing ('Lear'), especially because I wanted so badly to work with KSF for years," Cooper told The Voice-Tribune in June. "I've never had that opportunity. So now the opportunity has arisen through Savage Rose, of all things. Thanks to Matt Wallace for doing what he's doing."

"King Lear" runs Aug. 13, 15 and 17.

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