Live virtual performances on June 19 and July 17, hosted via YouTube Live on cfa.lmu.edu
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Undeterred by COVID 19 and social distancing, LMU Theatre Arts will be presenting its annual summer Shakespeare on the Bluff Festival virtually this year on YouTube Live! Performing All’s Well That Ends Well on June 19 and The Two Noble Kinsmen on July 17, this year’s company features LMU Theatre students and alumni, from the Class of 2004 to the Class of 2023. That’s 20 years of lions on stage together and we couldn’t be more excited! As always, all performances are free and open to the community, family-friendly, and will be 90 minutes long.
According to LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts Dean Bryant Keith Alexander, Ph.D. “The plays were handpicked for this current historical moment; both a needed light-heartedness (from the previously projected summer season) with some mixture of fairy tale and a cynical realism that invites us to reflect on virtues and vices of people and the times; always locating ourselves in the social realities of the plays that are both make believe and make belief.”
In All’s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare’s play of poor choices and toxic masculinity, Helen has loved Bertram from afar for years. When she cures the King of France of his illness, he promises the hand of any man in the kingdom for her husband and she chooses Bertram, who promptly flees to Italy to fight in the wars, promising never to see her until she can show him a child of theirs. She promptly sets in motion a series of events to help her do just that. Humor, heartbreak, and scheming abound, but as the title suggests, all is truly well if it ends well.
The Two Noble Kinsmen is Shakespeare’s last play, and was written with John Fletcher, who replaced Shakespeare as the resident playwright of the King’s Men. Theseus, the king of Athens, at the request of three queens whose husbands have been killed and remain unburied at the order of the wicked King Creon of Thebes, invades that city and conquers it. Cousins Palamon and Arcite, the two noblest warriors in Thebes, are taken prisoner. Both fall in love with Theseus’s sister-in-law Emelia and escape prison to pursue her, while their jailer’s daughter has fallen madly in love with Palamon – literally. She goes crazy when he does not return her love. Shakespeare’s final play concerns friendship and the pain of unrequited love, resolving these doomed relationships in an unexpected yet oddly satisfying way.
Shakespeare on the Bluff 2020 is a true labor of love for the LMU students and alumni who comprise the company. With enthusiasm, ingenuity, and sheer creativity, they are all part of this grand experiment in theatre and the power of art. These lions will be performing together – and yet very much apart – from NYC to Los Angeles, Idaho to Atlanta!
Photo above of the cast and crew during the very first rehearsal of Shakespeare on the Bluff Online