Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Shakespeare comedy to be performed at Gonzaga Prep next month

the Inland Register

(From the July 21, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

The Spokane Shakespeare Company will present its second free, outdoor Shakespearean production Aug. 5-21 on the campus of Gonzaga Prep, 1224 E. Euclid in Spokane.

Much Ado About Nothing will be presented on Fridays through Sundays, Aug. 5-21.

This is the second production of free summer Shakespeare presented under the leadership of Father Kevin Connell, a Jesuit who is the principal of Gonzaga Prep and a member of the Theater Arts faculty at Gonzaga University.

In July of 2009, Connell directed the Spokane Shakespeare Company’s first production, The Taming of the Shrew, which played to 600 people in its four performances. This year’s production promises to be even more polished and enjoyable.

Much Ado About Nothing features two of Shakespeare’s most popular characters, Beatrice and Benedick, the witty, reluctant lovers engaged in a “merry war” of words as they struggle to escape the attraction which everyone around them can see is pulling them irresistibly toward one another. The plot also takes a serious dramatic turn as the villainous Don John upsets the wedding plans of two other young lovers, Claudio and Hero, with vicious rumors of betrayal and infidelity.

Father Connell calls Much Ado “the perfect Shakespearean play to enjoy on a warm summer evening. The plot is fast-moving but easy to follow. There are engaging heroes and dastardly villains. The play turns from witty repartee to goofy farce to dramatic fury like a fireworks display with different colors lighting up the sky each second.”

Much Ado is also more accessible for modern audiences than some other Shakespearean comedies. “Only a handful of the scenes are written in poetry. Most of it sounds amazingly like 21st century English,” said Father Connell. “The play’s language is so modern that Much Ado is often performed in some sort of modern setting.” This will be set just after World War II as the men return home from battle and discover that the women they’ve left behind aren’t very eager to set aside the independence they’ve earned while running the country on their own.

Much Ado’s cast has college actors from Gonzaga and Eastern as well as several well-known local performers, he said, including Eastern Washington University Theatre Arts faculty member Jeff Sanders and Interplayers / Civic Theater veterans Bethany Hart and Dave Rideout. Father Connell will play the treacherous Don John.

Performances will run about 90 minutes and are suitable for the whole family. Seating will be on the grass so bring a blanket or lawn chair. Patrons are also encouraged to bring their own food and refreshments to enjoy.

Performances on Fridays and Saturdays (Aug. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20) will begin at 6 p.m. Sunday shows (Aug. 7, 14, 21) will begin at 3 p.m.

All performances will take place in the courtyard near the entrance to the Scarpelli Gym on the campus of Gonzaga Prep at 1224 E. Euclid. Admission will be by donation and no reservations will be taken.

For more information email or see Spokane Shakespeare Company on Facebook.

Father Connell has performed in almost 40 Shakespearean productions himself, including five seasons with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival in Boise and numerous productions in Eugene, Portland, and Boston.

Last fall he directed Romeo and Juliet and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at Gonzaga University and appeared in the Spokane Civic Theater’s production of Metamorphoses, a collection of Greek myths performed in a swimming pool which was constructed inside the Civic’s studio theater for the production. Two other Much Ado cast members also appeared in Metamorphoses, which was selected as the Outstanding Production of the Year by the Spokesman Review.

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