Saturday, January 24, 2009

Riverside's 2009 Shakespeare shows chosen

Riverside - Riverside Theatre is proud to announce the 2009 Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival. This summer’s 10th annual festival will feature Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard III. Both shows will run in rotation from June 12 through July 12. Tickets will be on sale in April.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Ron Clark, is one of Shakespeare's most magical comedies. This show is a magical romp through an enchanted forest as a quartet of mismatched lovers and a gang of hapless actors cross paths with the king and queen of the fairies. This is the second time Riverside has produced this show at part of their Shakespeare festival. A Daily Iowan reporter described the 2003 production like this:

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play full of magic, and in Riverside's production, it also contains poodle skirts, nifty frocks, and other flashy clothing.

Attire from the '50s aside, the play tells the story of love on varying levels, complete with an ass-head and a bottle of special love juice in a world in which pink Mohawked punk-fairies (the immortals) mingle with Joan Clever-esque characters (the mortals).

(full article)

It will be interesting to see what Riverside does this time with the Shakespearean play that is most easily adapted to a director's vision. That 2003 production was paired with Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's darker plays. This time we get Richard III, an equally dark history play that has the title character waging his own private war as he murders, manipulates, and marries his way to the throne. Kristin Horton directs this story of a self-proclaimed villain battling to obtain and retain the crown.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard III will be performed at the Festival Stage in Lower City Park. The space, which seats over 400 people, is based on Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre of 1600. Based on a concept by theatre designer Paul Sannerud, the space was designed by Neumann-Monson Architects.

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