Since the Colorado Shakespeare Festival is one of the top Shakespeare festivals in the country -- and one of only seven that has staged every last one of Shakespeares 37 plays -- the people who put together the annual program know theyre taking a chance every time they move beyond the Bard. Shakespeare will always be our gold standard for excellence in writing, explains CSFs Mell McDonnell, but starting in 2006, we made a serious commitment to extending our repertoire beyond Shakespeare.
This seasons lineup features five offerings, including three of Shakespeares plays and one very condensed version of Shakespeare: Hamlet opens July 2; Much Ado About Nothing opens July 11; To Kill a Mockingbird opens July 18; The Two Gentlemen of Verona opens July 19; and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) opens July 24.
I think Hamlet is going to be a very interesting production, McDonnell says, because its the one play that almost everybody who speaks English has seen at least once, so that means that most people have a sort of Hamlet in their head, the way it ought to be. And our director says we need to strip away those tried-and-true ideas and just look at the play again. The seasons closing production should prove just as enlightening. Its all 37 of Shakespeares plays in less than two hours, explains McDonnell. You can make a comedy out of a tragedy just by speeding it up.