AS YOU LIKE IT, ROMEO AND JULIET Play At Westbrook Shakespeare Festival Through 5/23
Acorn Productions, presenters of the "Naked Shakespeare" series, announces plans for the first annuAl Westbrook Shakespeare Festival, to take place May 14 to 23 at Riverbank Park in Westbrook, Maine. The Westbrook Shakespeare Festival will feature 2 different outdoor productions by Naked Shakespeare actors in repertory over 2 weekends. The featured presentation is AS YOU LIKE IT, directed by Michael Howard, which will be presented as a full-length production Friday through Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. AS YOU LIKE IT is a classic comedy of disguise, in which Rosalind, one of Shakespeare's strongest female characters, dresses as a man when she is exiled to the forest of Arden along with her cousin Celia. Theater-goers are invited to bring a picnic or purchase a fresh taste of the old Southwest from the event's sponsor, the Blue Burrito, who will be doing concessions for the performances. Acorn's production of Shakespeare's classic tragedy ROMEO AND JULIET, directed by Karen Ball, will be shown weekend afternoons at 2 p.m. This heart-breaking tale of teenage love has been substantially abridged to run about 90-minutes and is the final project of the Young Actors Shakespeare Conservatory, a training program for local teen actors that began meeting in the fall of 2009. Admission to all performances at the Westbrook Shakespeare Festival is free, with a $5 suggested donation for ROMEO AND JULIET and $10 for AS YOU LIKE IT.
AS YOU LIKE IT, with Twelfth Night, ranks as the happiest of Shakespeare's comedies, and similar to many of his plays, features a love at first sight. The story begins when Orlando and Rosalind encounter each other and fall in love, although neither of them realizes that their feelings are reciprocated. Later, under very different circumstances, they meet, except now Rosalind is disguised as a young man Ganymede, who convinces Orlando to woo Ganymede as if he were Rosalind. During the course of its 2 ½ hours, the play explores issues of societal constraints versus a pastoral vision of life in a simpler world. Naked Shakespeare's production features company members Laura Graham as Rosalind, Keith Anctil as Orlando, and Equity member Stephanie Ross, appearing under a Guest Artist Contract, as Celia.
ROMEO AND JULIET premiered at SPACE Gallery in April and will be slightly restaged to accommodate the wider playing area in Riverbank Park. The production is the culmination of a program that began in September of 2009, when Naked Shakespeare company members Michael Levine and Karen Ball started working with a group of teen actors to teach them some of the techniques used by Acorn's Shakespeare Ensemble. Since January, the group has shifted their focus from training exercises to rehearsing a 90-minute version of Shakespeare's romantic treatment of teenage love, ROMEO AND JULIET. Acorn's production is directed by Karen Ball and features the following student actors: Nora Daly, Acy Jackson, Alexandra Neudek, Grania Power, Benedetto Robinson, and Olivia Ruhlin. All of these young thespians have been seen on local professional stages in addition to their work with their school drama groups.
Acorn staff members are working on adding several supplemental activities to the Westbrook Shakespeare Festival in order to celebrate Westbrook's growing artistic community. Possibilities include a craft fair and musical performances by local musicians. Several local restaurants are expected to offer post-show dining specials for theater-goers who would prefer not to picnic during the performance. More details of these ancillary events will be announced towards the end of next week. All events will be free and open to the public.
Friday, May 14 at 5:30 p.m. – AS YOU LIKE IT
Saturday, May 15 at 2 p.m. – ROMEO AND JULIET
Saturday, May 15 at 5:30 p.m. – AS YOU LIKE IT
Sunday, May 16 at 2 p.m. – ROMEO AND JULIET
Sunday, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. – AS YOU LIKE IT
Friday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. – AS YOU LIKE IT
Saturday, May 22 at 2 p.m. – ROMEO AND JULIET
Saturday, May 22 at 5:30 p.m. – AS YOU LIKE IT
Sunday, May 23 at 2 p.m. – ROMEO AND JULIET
Sunday, May 23 at 5:30 p.m. – AS YOU LIKE IT
For more information, call 854-0065 or visit www.acorn-productions.org