“SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE”By Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, preview 7:30 p.m. Thursday, opens 7:30 p.m. Friday, runs 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 5 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 21, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, 30 W. Dale St., $20-$45, includes discounted admission to museum on day of ticketed performance; 634-5581, csfineartscenter.org.
Something else: Backstage tour after Oct. 11 show, free; talkback session after Oct. 21 show, free.
What sayeth thee? Would William Shakespeare have loved or loathed the 1998 film “Shakespeare in Love”?
One might hope it was the former. After all, the Academy Award-winning movie and its more recent counterpart, the 2014 stage version, are fictionalized versions of the birth of maybe his best-known and loved work, “Romeo and Juliet,” and adhere to many of his favorite tropes: cross-dressing, mistaken identities, sword fighting, ghosts and the old play-within-a-play convention.
Fine Arts Center Theatre Company will preview the Colorado premiere of the show Thursday and officially open it Friday at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.
“This particular vehicle is a great opportunity for people who may not be comfortable or familiar with Shakespeare to get into the process of what it’s like to create a Shakespearean play in the late 16th century,” said Scott Levy, the FAC’s producing artistic director and director of performing arts.
In “Shakespeare in Love,” the young playwright is in a panic. A bad case of writer’s block has grabbed hold of him and rendered his latest commissioned play a month late. Onto the stage, literally, walks Viola, a wealthy merchant’s daughter, who has disguised herself as a man in order to audition for a role. Women in the 16th century were forbidden to set foot on stage. Shakespeare, impressed by the young “man’s” talent, casts him in the show. Eventually, he unearths Viola’s true identity, falls in love and banishes his writer’s block.
The play is taken word for word from the screenplay, said Levy. The only difference between the two is the expansion of the Christopher Marlowe character, Shakespeare’s fellow playwright, who holds much greater sway over the main character in the stage version.
Billed as a “play with music,” the show features a score of 46 pieces of music, yet it’s not a full-fledged musical. Three live musicians will perform while the acting company sings some of the tunes.
The FAC hasn’t produced much Shakespeare through the years, mostly due to fellow theater company TheatreWorks’ strong track record with the work and Levy’s own artistic aesthetic, which doesn’t naturally lean toward the bard. But this was a chance to make a compromise.
“It was an opportunity to do a play that isn’t exactly a Shakespeare play but is historical fiction of Shakespeare in his time that features a sort of fictionalized version of how he wrote ‘Romeo and Juliet,’” said Levy. “It marries Shakespeare’s beautiful verse and language with an anachronistic and comic romantic romp.”
Jennifer Mulson, The Gazette, 636-0270, email@example.com