Department of Theatre Presents 'Love's Labour's Lost,' Running Oct. 1-10

Love's Labour's Lost and director Paul Barnes.
Ash Micheel

Love's Labour's Lost and director Paul Barnes.

The Department of Theatre in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is excited to return to live performances with William Shakespeare's comedy, Love's Labour's Lost, opening today, Friday, Oct. 1, outside in the Mini Greek Amphitheater of the Fine Arts Center.

The production runs through Oct. 10, and all performances are free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

The production is directed by guest director Paul Barnes, whose residency is supported by the McIlroy Family Visiting Professorship in the Performing and Visual Arts. Barnes, a nationally recognized director of Shakespeare, brings a depth of experience to a large cast that includes the entire M.F.A. cohort in acting as well as undergraduate performers.

Barnes said, "The cast entered the production with a wide array of experience with Shakespeare; for many of them this is their first time acting in one of his plays. It's been terrific to watch the light bulbs go off as they've grappled with the principles of verse speaking, making the language their own, and learning that once they've acquired a foundation of basic rules of the road, Shakespeare's words will lead them exactly where they need to go as they build a character — they don't need to wrestle him to the ground."

Riles Newsome, a third-year M.F.A. acting candidate, recalls Barnes stressing the need for precision in the language and repeatedly saying: "We need ending consonants!"

Abud Metwally, also a third-year M.F.A. acting candidate, echoes this, saying, "Working with Paul has been such a fulfilling journey. His vast theater experience and close attention to detail have guided me as an actor to discover more aspects of my character in every single rehearsal."

The comedy centers on four men who swear off love, but Barnes says "as with most of Shakespeare's comedies, it's a play about community rather than a single character, and as usual, the women are more spiritually evolved than the men, … but everyone's quick-witted, there's so many rhyming couplets, so many puns, so much playfulness in the words, and the play contains some of the most beautiful words about love that have ever been written, and that alone is a feast upon which we all can banquet." 

To maintain safety protocols, the production will take place outdoors in the Mini Greek Amphitheatre which is nestled in the Fine Arts Center complex, and the performers will be masked, but also mic'd for amplification. M.F.A. costume designers got creative and incorporated the masks into their overall design for each character so there is a unified look and stylish feel.

The production, originally scheduled for April 2021, has been a long time in the making, and Barnes has relished working with the cast and crew in person and welcomes a live audience.

"Zoom readings, classes, rehearsals and performances have helped us all keep our oars in the water, so to speak," Barnes said, "but theatre depends on the response of a live audience, so rehearsing and performing on site, in the Mini Greek Amphitheater—which is an ideal space for performing Shakespeare—has been a gift. It feels like we've come full circle."

Ticket reservations can be made online at uark.universitytickets.com.

Step by Step Instructions:

  • Go to uarkartstickets.com
  • Click Category "Theatre"
  • Click "Get Tickets" on the show on the date you plan to attend.
  • Claim your tickets
  • Login/Register to check out. 
  • A confirmation email will be sent with your tickets (we can scan from your phone) or you may pick them up at Will Call in the University Theatre Lobby. 

For more information, visit the Department of Theatre online or email theatre@uark.edu for assistance. 

Contacts

Ash Micheel, publicity manager
Department of Theatre
479-575-4752, amicheel@uark.edu

Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-4393, liwag@uark.edu

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