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Review: CRAZY LOVE – The Live Production at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Entrances

Review: CRAZY LOVE – The Live Production at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Entrances

You'll fall in love with the live theatre production, Crazy Love, now being performed by The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ). Shows are being held in the spacious backyard of the Theatre's Thomas H. Kean Theatre Factory in Florham Park. It is an ideal setting to protect the safety of patrons during Covid-19 with careful social distancing protocols in place. Guests are seated in 8-foot pods that are 6-feet apart and masks are required of employees, volunteers, and patrons. Each party can consist of one to five people.

In her opening address to the audience, STNJ's Artistic Director, Bonnie J. Monte pointed out that they are one of the first theatres in the United States to offer live performances during the pandemic. She also said that she hopes the show fills audience members with joy, delight and hope. And it certainly does.

We attended the show on Thursday, July 30 that featured The Love Doctor by Moliere and Aria Da Capo by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Both pieces are impeccably directed by Ms. Monte and wonderfully performed by the company's touring group, Shrewd Mechanicals. The cast members have been quarantining together since the outbreak of Covid-19 making their performance as a troupe possible.

Review: CRAZY LOVE – The Live Production at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Entrances

The program opened with The Love Doctor, a fun, romantic frolic. It tells the story of a Sganarelle, a father who is worried about his daughter, Lucinda's health. He consults with a group of doctors, but their advice seems useless. When Clitandre, Lucinda's suitor comes along disguised as a doctor, he has a plan to make her feel much better. Or is the remedy really their romance? Moliere's clever piece is complemented by the translation and adaptation by Ms. Monte and the quick comedic timing of the talented cast. The actors include Jeffrey Mark Alkins as Sganarelle; Katja Yacker as Lucrece; Ellie Gossage as Aminte; Christian Frost as Refaire; Dino Curia as Bijoux; Billie Wyatt as Lucinda; Skye Pagon as Lissette; Dino Curia as Doctor Sangsue; Ellie Gossage as Doctor Motsvide; Katja Yacker as Doctor Malatete; Christian Frost as Doctor Tueur; Isaac Hickox-Young as Clitandre; and Katja Yacker as the Notary.

Review: CRAZY LOVE – The Live Production at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Entrances

Aria Da Capo is a captivating piece with fanciful scenes and ingenious prose that stimulate the imagination. Each audience member will likely have unique takeaways and the show will provoke some interesting conversations. The play commences with commedia dell'arte characters, Pierrot and Columbine in whimsical conversation over a dining table. Soon Cothurnus appears on stage, dismissing Pierrot and Columbine and introducing the shepherds, Thyrsis and Corydon. The two men at first seem congenial, but their relationship becomes contentious and tragic. The actors include Ellie Gossage as Columbine; Christian Frost as Pierrot; Jeffrey Marc Alkins as Cothurnus; Isaac Hickox-Young as Corydon; and Dino Curia as Thyrsis. The Zanies are played by Skye Pagon; Billie Wyatt, and Katja Yacker.

Crazy Love also has another program, Verily, Madly Thine that is a collection of moments and scenes exploring love and lunacy from William Shakespeare's canon and other love poems. Verily, Madly Thine is compiled and directed by AC Horton. Crazy Love's two programs are offered on different evenings.

The Production Staff has done a top job of bringing Crazy Love to the Florham Park stage. They include Steven L. Beckel who designed the Back Yard Stage and serves as Technical Director and Stage Manager. Ms. Monte did the costume, set and sound design and Alisa Korunow is the Wardrobe Mistress.

Treat yourself and experience Crazy Love. See one show or see both. The performances are just what we need in these times to renew our appreciation for live theatre at its finest.

Performances of Crazy Love will continue through Sunday, August 9. All tickets for are $20 and are available only by contacting the Theatre's Box Office at (973) 408-5600 or boxoffice@ShakespeareNJ.org. For more information, please visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

Photo Credit: Brian Crowe and Joe Guerin



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