Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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All the world’s a stage for Lovers’ ‘Labour’s’

It’s all about green in this play. But not the green you’re thinking of. This is the green of spring, the green of new leaves and new love — and the green of a new crew.

With a first-time director, first-time producers and an outdoor venue, there are plenty of things that could go wrong with the Lovers and Madmen production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” this weekend. But with inspiration and bit of good weather, the production has every hope of coming to fruition.

The play, which will go up Friday through Sunday at The Rock, features few props and simple costumes, putting the emphasis back on the acting, said producer Arjun Jaikumar, a Communication sophomore.

Communication junior Nick Leonard, who is making his Lovers and Madmen directorial debut, said he enjoys working at The Rock. Jaikumar, who recently appeared in the group’s production of “Woyzeck,” said working at The Rock increases the immediacy of the play, bringing the actors closer to the audience and forcing them to work in a more classical mode, without the aid of theater’s technical side.

“There’s just something glorious about doing shows outside,” said Leonard, a Communication junior. “You have the whole world to give the play to.”

Leonard, who has been with Lovers and Madmen since its first meeting two years ago, assistant directed last year’s Shakespeare at The Rock production of “Much Ado About Nothing.” He said he feels at home in the space.

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” works well in the outdoors, Leonard said. Lovers and Madmen make effective use of the walls, trees and bushes that surround The Rock to recreate the park outside the King of Navarre’s palace, where the play is set.

But setting is only a small part of this tale of misguided love. The emotions in the play are too big to be produced indoors, Leonard said.

“The gigantic, huge romantic attitudes they have cannot be contained,” he said.

The sounds of planes roaring overhead and students rollerblading cannot be contained either — but producers Russell Berns and Jaikumar said the extra sounds are just a part of performing outdoors. And the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, Berns said.

“A part of the heart of performing at The Rock is that it does invite people to stop by and chat,” said Berns, a Communication freshman, struggling to make his backstage voice heard above a noisy car on Sheridan Road. Throughout Tuesday’s rehearsal, students — even those on bikes — turned their heads toward the actors as they made their way past.

But just as the advantages are many in performing at The Rock, so are the costs. Because the show is outdoors, the troupe cannot sell tickets, Jaikumar said. The producers are also in charge of an improvised process of reserving The Rock and setting up the space, including the lights and seating.

Those who stop by to watch will note the ensemble’s modern costuming — a decision Leonard said he made in order to emphasize the play’s relevance for modern society.

“I think you find that a lot of people just kind of jumping into things and just getting married without thinking,” he said of the link between the play’s love struggles and modern society.

Leonard and costume designers Jennifer Martin and Sarah Pickering studied modern dress in France and Spain to determine what would be worn in each scene, Martin said.

The three used the costumes to add twists to a few of the characters, dressing the Princess, played by Roseanne Clark, in business attire and Moth, the assistant to the Spaniard Armado, in a “nerdy” outfit that has been likened to Harry Potter, said Martin, a Communication junior.

Several of the ensemble’s members shine in the outdoor venue. Communication sophomore Marcus DeFrancis portrays Armado with a booming Spanish accent and swagger that at times invoke the image of Zorro. DeFrancis and Lyssa Mandel, who potrays Moth, create a believable master-servant chemistry on stage. And Communication sophomore Caroline Fourmy, who portrays the schoolmaster Holofernia with cat-eyed glasses and her hair in a bun, consistently and clearly enunciates her erudite vernacular.

Seating for the show will consist of blankets in the first row and about 70 chairs, Berns said — but students are welcome to sit on the stairs of University and Harris halls or stand and watch a scene or two, Jaikumar said.

The group has made rain plans in the past but decided this year’s show is too tied to the space, Jaikumar said. As long as an audience is present, the show will go on, Berns said.

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All the world’s a stage for Lovers’ ‘Labour’s’