So you say that your teacher forced you to read Shakespeare in high school? If you’re like me, you had to flip to the glossary of terms to tell you what the heck the characters were saying. It’s an utter tragedy that more people haven’t grown up with a healthy appreciation for the Bard’s writings. Unfortunately, not every city has a well-trained company of actors performing Shakespeare’s repertoire in the park every summer. I grew up regularly going to see productions in the midst of urban nature, but it wasn’t until my 30s that I really learned to appreciate the language and the brilliance of Shakespeare’s works.
While I did numerous scenes and monologues in college, I’ve never actually appeared in a full production of a Shakespearean work. Lucky for me, I’m having the opportunity to take on the role of “Oberon”--not in Mr. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream--but in Ken Ludwig’s recent comedy Shakespeare in Hollywood at Albuquerque Little Theatre.
Like fish out of water, Oberon and his sidekick Puck are unexpectedly transported to 1930s Hollywood and the “Magic Woods Near Athens” on the set of Max Reinhardt’s film version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The two find themselves getting all wrapped-up in the hubbub of the film industry when they are selected by Reinhardt to play themselves in the film. Of course, Oberon falls in love with one of his co-stars, tries to secure his fate as her lover by seeking out a magic flower whose juice, "streaked" in her eyes, will guarantee that his affection is returned. As expected in this comedy of errors where nothing goes as planned, the flower falls into the wrong hands, which causes mayhem of the most hilarious variety: Bimbos fall for junior “Yes Men,” handsome young matinee idols fall for actors in drag, and magic leads everyone awry. Of course, in the end--like the best-written comedies--all is made right, lovers are reunited, and life lessons are learned as everyone leaves the woods.
Albuquerque Little Theatre Executive and Creative Director Henry Avery has assembled a stellar cast of actors, who bring this gut-busting comedy to life. Shakespeare in Hollywood opens on September 25 and runs every consecutive Friday, Saturday and Sunday through October 11. To learn more and get ticket information, visit www.albuquerquelittletheatre.org.
Watch a teaser video to get to know the cast of Shakespeare in Hollywood here!