Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati's Stage for the Classics, announces an enchanting and witty addition to their eighteenth season with Shakespeare's comedy, "Love's Labour's Lost". This production features CSC Ensemble Members Darnell Pierre Benjamin, Billy Chace, Miranda McGee and Kelly Mengelkoch, "Love's Labour's Lost" is directed by Sara Clark and opens December 2, and runs through December 31.
"Love's Labour's Lost" is an enchanting comedy of romance and rhetoric where young love is the name of the game. The King of Navarre (Darnell Pierre Benjamin) and his men, including Berowne (Billy Chace) take an oath to devote three years to scholarship-without the company of women. But what they didn't anticipate was a visit from the beautiful Princess of France (Kelly Mengelkoch) and her three gorgeous ladies-in-waiting, including Rosaline (Miranda McGee). Meanwhile, the heavily-accented Spanish swordsmen, Don Armado (Jim Hopkins) tangles with Costard (Jeremy Dubin) over the beautiful Jaquenetta (Teresa Wellman). Don Armado's page Moth (Brent Vimtrup), along with clowns and Spanish fools, add humor and delight. Will the King's oath hold? Or will he and his men succumb to the game of love? Audiences will find out as the Bard takes wordplay and wit to its most impressive in this clever comedy.
"Love's Labour's Lost" will be told as an enchanted story that comes alive for a modern day heroine, who discovers the story as it unfolds on stage. Audiences will get to experience with her an exquisite 17th century world full of princesses, kings and other enchantingly historical delights. The story will be reminiscent of a classic fairy tale that is perfect for the whole family. Andrew Hungerford returns to CSC to design the set and lights and has created the charming world of Navarre. To help further transport the audience, Doug Borntrager will be the sound designer, creating original music for the production. The set is full of unanticipated details including a forest of trees built on the stage that the actors will be able to climb and peer through. Resident costume designer Heidi Jo Schiemer creates gowns from the 17th century that are befitting the princess and her ladies-in-waiting. The King of Navarre and his men are outfitted as dashing gentlemen in this romantic Cavalier era.
"Love's Labour's Lost" is directed by CSC Artistic Associate and six year ensemble member Sara Clark in her mainstage directorial debut. Sara directed CSC's wildly popular touring production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that appeared in the 2010 & 2011 Shakespeare in the Park tours and it continues to tour community centers and schools throughout the tri-state. Sara says of "Love's Labour's Lost" that "in our image-obsessed era where speeches have become soundbites and sonnets turned emoticons, 'Love's Labour's Lost' is a delectable banquet of words. Lovers and clowns alike delight in wordplay and wit that runs the gamut from the basest bathroom humor to the most erudite double entendre. Through this production, I hope to explore both these extremes, as well as the other dualities inherent to the play: swearing versus doing, youth versus maturity, and reality versus fantasy. I want our audience to leave feeling they've been to hear a play, not just to see one. And I want them to laugh. I mean, c'mon, it's the holidays...we wanna make 'em laugh." Sara was most recently seen on stage as Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth" and Margaret More in "A Man for All Seasons". She has also performed locally with The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center and New Edgecliff Theatre and co-directs the CSC Groundlings program for high school students.
"Love's Labour's Lost" features second year ensemble member, Darnell Pierre Benjamin as the King of Navarre. He was seen last season as Valentine in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona". This season he has been seen on the CSC stage as Malcolm in "Macbeth" and is featured as Marc Antony in CSC's touring production of "Julius Caesar". Billy Chace, fifth year ensemble member, is also featured in in "Love's Labour's Lost" as Berowne. Recent roles with the company include King John in "The Life & Death of King John" as well as Renfield in "Dracula". Last year, he collaborated with the Cincinnati Ballet as a live narrator in their production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Miranda McGee, third year ensemble member, appears as Rosaline in "Love's Labour's Lost". She was Susannah in "Bedroom Farce" this season and is featured as Nick Bottom in CSC's touring production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Caius Cassius in CSC's touring production of "Julius Caesar". The Princess of France is played by eighth year ensemble member, Kelly Mengelkoch. Kelly was recently seen as Jan in "Bedroom Farce" and as a Weird Sister in CSC's production of "Macbeth". She was featured last season in "Blithe Spirit" as Elvira and in "Pride & Prejudice" as Jane Bennett.