This year my husband and I decided to make it a priority to return to the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City. One of the biggest reasons, was that the Festival was doing a production of my favorite Shakespeare play, The Merchant of Venice. Of course we were not disappointed! Each show was exceptionally well done and featured fantastic actors, beautiful sets, and an array of powerful emotions. The Merchant of Venice
For 2010 the Shakespeare Festival nabbed veteran television and movie star Tony Amendola (from such films as The Mask of Zorro and Blow) to tackle the controversial character Shylock. The result was a tour de force performance that had everyone in the audience near tears.
One of the reasons I like Merchant so much is that it portrays every emotion and sentiment: love, anger, jealousy, friendship, revenge and mercy. From the strong female protagonist Portia, to the cunning and embittered Shylock, Merchant teaches us what it means to be a human being. A fantastic production that was my personal favorite! Pride and Prejudice
One of the greatest love stories ever told, Pride and Prejudice was a real treat to see performed on stage. This was my first time seeing a live theater production of Jane Austen's classic novel (I have read the book and seen the movies several times), and I was totally blown away. The set was functional yet beautiful, and the director staged scene changes with a fluid grace that kept the story and action flowing seamlessly. I especially loved the dialogue between Darcy and Elizabeth, however the best part of the production was actor Brian Vaughn's portrayal of the oily Mr. Collins. Much Ado About Nothing
Most people are familiar with this particular play because of the 1993 film starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. And while the movie is fantastic, Much Ado is definitely a play that everyone needs to see performed on stage at least once.
I liked everything about this production, from the actors, to the costumes and sets, and especially the slapstick humor (the scenes in and around a large wine barrel are particularly funny). However the story rests heavily on the shoulders of the two quarreling lovers Beatrice and Benedick (played by Kymberly Mellen and David Ivers, respectively). Their mutual dislike and attraction were executed perfectly, and this is no more apparent than the powerful scene where their love is first revealed.
If you have the opportunity to attend the Shakespeare Festival, I hope you will. Some of the plays coming in 2011 are Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Noises Off!, and Dial M For Murder. However, the 2010 summer plays only have one week left, so hurry and buy your tickets today. Happy viewing!
*Photos by Karl Hugh, Utah Shakespeare Festival 2010.