Monday, August 27, 2012

Utah Shakespeare Festival: The Merry Wives of Windsor

I know that some of my British friends might be surprised that Utah has an award winning Shakespeare Festival in the little desert town of Cedar City on the campus of Southern Utah University. As a matter of fact, it is one of the best in the country.  Yes, I am bragging.

I don't know why I have never been to the Shakespeare Festival before, but it was wonderful.  The theater is a replica of the Globe theater and several productions take place there.  Other productions take place in a modern theater.  Not all the plays are Shakespeare plays.  This year, for example, they performed "Le Mis" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" among others.


File:Globe Theatre at SUU.jpg
Source:  Flickr Globe Theater SUU


Theses photos are from our seats in the west balcony.


Prior to the play there was entertainment on the lawn.  Several families came for the the free entertainment of dancing, music, and sheep catapulting.  Plush, toy sheep, that is.






Fabulous food was available as well.  I had a blueberry scone, an English scone, not a Utah scone which is more like a fry bread.  My husband had a lemon tart.



Now for the fun part.  The actual play.  We saw "Merry Wives of Windsor" and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not take the following photos as that is not allowed in the theater.  These are from the Shakespeare Festival website.

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The main characters were amazing.  Master Ford, John G. Preston,  put me in stitches every time he said a line. Dr. Caius, Matt Zambrano, was also hilarious, but his exaggerated French accent almost sounded like a French accent with a Texas twang.  By the second act, the "drawl" had disappeared and his lines weren't distracting.  Falstaff, Roderick Peeples, also was fabulous.  If anyone should have a Texas accent he should.  He graduated from the University of Texas.  By far the leads were the strength of the play.  I guess that is what is to be expected from professional actors! The merry wives, Jacqueline Antaramain and Melinda Pfundstein were delightful to watch.

I must mention one particularly funny moment.  In noticed that in the upper section of the stage, some portraits were lowered.  I thought it odd as the portraits were modern, about 1970's.  They looked familiar.  I wondered if it was a prop snafu and perhaps the photos were former actors or festival personnel.  Then it clicked.  The scene took place Master and Mistress Ford's home.  The portraits were "family" portraits of former American President Ford. What a hoot.

I also loved the costumes.  I found myself wondering at the marvelous fabrics, thinking about how to construct those gorgeous dresses, and wondering what kind of corsetry was used.  Ahh, the mind of a sewer.

I am certainly going to attend the Shakespeare play next summer.  Especially since my son has a buy one get one free pass!

Wonderful experience.  Five out of five stars!



2 comments:

  1. Gorgeous costumes and theatre!
    Our small town has a Shakespeare Festival June/July time in the Castle and the weather is always notoriously "dodgy" for those two weeks!Even the thought of a buy one get one free pass still could not tempt me although I have been in the past.

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  2. What an amazing building. I prefer to see Shakespeare plays in period dress like this rather than given the modern treatment - just me, I can see the appeal of playing around with the visual side. What do you think of the Leonardo DeCaprio (sp?) Romeo and Juliet? Teenagers seem to love it and I actually enjoyed it more than I expected to when I watched it with students.

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