Shakespeare’s upbeat comedy is brought up to speed by DMT’s musical production of Love’s Labour’s Lost. Shakespeare’s opening situation is already funny: 4 men vow to stay away from women and booze while 4 beautiful women, surpassingly pledged to virtue, arrive with 4 clowns. Liberally lubricated with song and dance, nothing can be taken seriously.
Alex Timbers’ book is consistent with Shakespeare’s comic equivocation: meaning pivots on a clever phrase, turning round and around, exposing each possibility with an intellectual pun, always kind of making sense but flying by a little too quickly to be grasped fully. The conclusion is that there is no conclusion, that meaning is elusive, allusive, and illusive and so laugh it off and go on your marry way toward (but never obtaining) conjugal bliss. Dance keeps everything moving. Truth is motion, not a place to hang out.
Director Lisa Tromovitch said the Elizabethan stage “… didn’t know about the fourth wall…”. Actors naturally interacted with the audience who knew they were in a theatre. Asides and soliloquies directly addressed the several classes of patrons. The musical plays to the audience anyway and in this production, the band is on stage and the song and dance pay homage to earlier musical styles. The sonnets Shakespeare embedded in the script are sung. Actors weave in and out of the chorus.
Costumes are contemporary couture. Music by Michael Friedman, book adapted by Alex Timbers. Music Director Dan Feyer. Laura Ellis choreographs.
The outstanding ensemble of Bay Area actor/singers features: Pamela Ballin as Jaquenetta, Chris Cruz as Longaville, Kaylyn Dowd as Katherine, Bruce Kaplan as Nathaniel, Jordan Kersten as Maria, Nick Louie as Dumaine, Daniel Martin as Boyet, Rio Martinez as Berowne, Regina Morones as Rosaline, Lizzie Moss as The Princess, Martie Muldoon as Dull, Heren Patel as Mercadé, Jepoy Ramos as Costard, Nick Sears as The King, Shauna Shoptaw as Holofernes, Amber Sommerfeld as Moth and Ronnie Tañon as Don Armado.
Despite my allergy to musical comedy, I enjoyed the evening. I admire people who can act, sing and dance so confidently. My congratulations to Susan Evens, artistic director of the Douglas Morrison Theatre, for pulling off this splendid show.
Love’s Labours Lost plays until November 29th, 2015. Douglas Morrisson Theatre, 22311 N. Third St., Hayward, CA 94546
Douglas Morrison Theatre