By Patric Hedlund
“It was like country summer stock in New England,” Harvard alumnus Richard Hoegh said enthusiastically after the Mountain Shakespeare Festival’s performance last weekend. “The Taming of the Shrew” is being performed in the gazebo of Pine Mountain Village in repertory with Neil Simon’s hilarious comedy “The Odd Couple” for just two more weekends. On Sunday, July 18 the delightful Bard’s Faire for kids is featured (see www.MountainShakes.org for more information).
The outdoor theater was beautiful, Saturday, July 10—with a colorful set for the often-slapstick Shakespearian favorite, graced by the masterful physical comedy of David Stenstrom as Grumio and Bill Fair as Petruchio, the shrew’s shrewd suitor. Katarina was played with unusual nuance by Stacey Havener.
It was fun to see the townfolk of Padua looking very much like some you might recognize near home, like Gigi and Bill Day of Frazier Park as Lady Gigi and a juggler gentleman, for instance, garbed in Italian finery of the 16th century. Young thespians like Violet Rose Fowler and Miles Vivirito were a delight to see gaining confidence onstage. Colton Fair turned the small part of Biondello into an unexpectedly intriguing character. Delaney Peterson delivered a Bianca with a spicy naughtiness of her own. At intermission, Kim Buccio’s refreshment pavilion offered gourmet sweets, coffee, lemonade and baked goods for a delicious break.
Overhead, misty clouds conveyed a magical quality to the theatrical lights, not to mention a bit of suspense as to whether we might have a full-blown cloudburst. The mists parted to reveal lush, starry skies just before the sparring spouses finally kissed.
Bill Fair has taken on a great challenge by appearing in a lead role and also directing. Here and there, pacing could have been a bit tighter and projection more robust by younger players. But what better setting could there be to savor the lusty and wise prose of the Bard? And what a terrific opportunity to share fun and culture with friends and guests in our beautiful mountain. Don’t miss either of the shows.
Tips: Bring a sweater or shawl to be prepared. Reserve your tickets right away, as seats often sell out for the last two weekends of MSF: Go to www.MountainShakes.org.
This is part of the July 16, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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