Shakespeare was so right about the brevity of the sunny season as well as about many matters of the heart. Those who love the Bard as well as those whoâ€™d like to get to know him better can hear the rest of Sonnet 18 and many more literary plums in the free upcoming â€œShakespeare on Love.â€
After an absence of a few years, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) returns to Dorchester with a Tour of the Parks production, a fast-paced 55-minute piece blending speeches, sonnets, scenes and songs inspired by Shakespeare on the subject of love.
â€œShakespeare on Loveâ€ was co-created by Steven Maler, CSCâ€™s Founding Artistic Director, and the eight young members of the original cast that debuted the show during First Night this year.
Ryan Maxwell, who is currently assistant-directing the CSC production of â€œThe Comedy of Errorsâ€ that opens at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common this weekend, is re-staging Malerâ€™s original blocking for this Tour of the Parks. Five of the original cast return, but the three new female ensemble members bring even greater ethnic diversity to the production.
The show is built around four 5-12 minute comic/ romantic scenes featuring pairs of Shakespeareâ€™s young lovers: Romeo and Juliet, Orlando and Rosalind (As You Like It), Petruchio and Katerina (The Taming of the Shrew) and Henry and Katherine (Henry V).
In between, the cast recites eight of the Bardâ€™s most memorable sonnets and sings a few songs: two with Shakespeareâ€™s original lyrics and one (Cole Porterâ€™s â€œI Hate Menâ€) from â€œKiss Me, Kate,â€ the musical based on â€œThe Taming of the Shrew.â€
Two of the five stops on the tour will be at Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park, The Playstead, Franklin Park, The first visit will be Tuesday, Aug. 11, 11 a.m. The second a week later, August 18, also at 11 am. Other performances will be at the Parkman Bandstand downtown and in Quincy.
This show is appropriate for the whole family, and people are encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy this whimsical look at love. For more information, or to make a contribution to support the work of CSC, visit commshakes.org. The website has links to a â€œShakespeare on Loveâ€ study guide with fun activities for kids and links to CSCâ€™s YouTube clips, 30 second Shakespearean excerpts taped in various Boston locales.