Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival serves up delightful Two Gentlemen of Verona

TGV-@

By Francis Marion Platt

For Almanac Weekly

Published on June 26, 2014

On a fine June evening, with Boscobel’s iconic view of the Hudson Highlands, the river itself and Constitution Marsh as a backdrop, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) officially launched its 2014 season with The Two Gentlemen of Verona. A husband-and-wife team of HVSF regulars, Kurt Rhoads and Nance Williamson, along with a scene-stealing dog named Rex O’Reilly, anchor a game and talented ensemble of younger actors performing under the direction of Eric Tucker.

Written circa 1590, Two Gentlemen is one of William Shakespeare’s earliest plays, if not the very first. So, comparatively speaking, it’s unsophisticated and unpolished, the characters lacking depth and the abrupt turns of plot occasionally unpersuasive to modern ears. It’s by no means complex enough to be classified as one of the Bard’s “problem plays,” but its simplicity is deceptive, and the ending can still perplex us: The hero, Valentine (Ethan Saks), interrupts his duplicitous best friend Proteus (Andy Rindlisbach) as he’s threatening to rape Valentine’s betrothed Silvia (Susannah Millonzi). He then not only promptly forgives Proteus in the name of amity, but actually offers Silvia to him without so much as a by-your-leave to the lady. Proteus’ jilted fiancée Julia (Magan Wiles), who has been following him disguised as a male page, then swoons before being unmasked.

A comedy cobbled together from several Elizabethan sources in which male friendship is extolled as deeper and more enduring than romantic love, the play is a tough sell to contemporary audiences unless rendered with the deftest touch as the message-free, lightweight bauble that it was always meant to be. We’re supposed to walk away from it amused and delighted, not aghast at Proteus’ reprehensible behavior and Valentine’s overindulgence of his betrayal of both their friendship and his oaths of love to Julia. Proteus may read like an early sketch for the despicable Bertram in All’s Well that Ends Well, but he’s meant to be not so much a confirmed cad as a fickle young hothead, like Romeo when he’s distracted from moping over Rosaline the moment he spots Juliet at the Capulets’ ball.

Deflecting our attention from the play’s dicey ethics is not all that easy a thing to accomplish, but Tucker and his company manage it handily, thanks in large part to a spare, airy production in which sets are nonexistent and nothing seems tethered to the ground. Dance elements and body sculpture choreographed by Alexandra Beller are incorporated throughout to simulate architectural elements such as Julia’s tower window and even a fountain, with half a dozen actors spouting water from their mouths simultaneously. In the scene where several of the principals – fleeing Milan after Valentine is banished by Silvia’s father, the Duke (Leopold Lowe) – are captured by bandits, lopped-off tree limbs are held in place by recruits from the audience only so long as is necessary to suggest a forest. The bandits themselves are as inept and comically polite as the Pirates of Penzance, and no one in the play, including Silvia, ever seems to be in any real jeopardy even from the impulsive Proteus.

All the young principals hold their own beautifully, but the best moments in HVSF’s Two Gentlemen are delivered by the two veterans: Williamson as Julia’s brassy, sassy maid Lucetta (not to mention a gun-happy Second Outlaw) and Rhoads in the primary clown role as Launce, Proteus’ manservant. Launce is saddled with an uncooperative dog named Crab; and although he’s the only cast member with two understudies, Rex certainly didn’t need any help on opening night. The boxer had the audience in the palm of his paw the whole time. When he started humping his master’s side in the midst of one of Launce’s comedic soliloquies, it was difficult to tell, based on Rhoads’s alarmed expression, whether the dog was extraordinarily well-trained or just a spotlight hound doing improv.

This ensemble excels at multitasking, with several actors playing multiple parts, Millonzi doubling as dance captain, Williamson as voice captain and Rindlisbach credited with composing the infectious original music accompanying the show. Rebecca Lustig’s inspired costumes are thrown-together thrift-store finds from no particular era in slightly clashing colors. All the production elements mesh gently enough to keep the tenor of the play appropriately light and breezy, letting us believe that redemption is always possible and forgiveness as fluid as the water spurting from an actor’s puffed-out cheeks.

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona runs through the end of August in repertory with the Bard’s Othelloand Pierre Corneille’s The Liar. Performances of Two Gentlemen at Boscobel House and Gardens’ 540-seat outdoor pavilion are scheduled for July 3, 6, 8, 12, 14, 18, 20, 22, 26, 28, 31, August 3, 6, 10, 13, 26 and 29; check the HVSF website at http://hvshakespeare.org for alternate venues. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 7 p.m. on all other nights. Ticket prices range from $21 to $79 depending on night of the week, seat location and age of audience member. Package discounts are offered. To order or for more info, call the box office at (845) 265-9575 or visit the website.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, July 3-August 29, 7 or 8 p.m., $21-$79, Boscobel House and Gardens, 1601 Route 9D, Garrison; (845) 265-9575, http://hvshakespeare.org.

Originally published at http://www.hudsonvalleyalmanacweekly.com/2014/06/26/hudson-valley-shakespeare-festival-serves-up-delightful-two-gentlemen-of-verona/

 

The Liar: Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

The New Yorker

GOINGS ON ABOUT TOWN: THE THEATRE

Originally posted on http://www.newyorker.com/arts/events/theatre/the-liar-hudson-valley-shakespeare-festival

It’s not often, these days, that an audience holds its breath, waiting to see how a playwright will resolve a line of dialogue, then sighs with satisfaction, responds with laughter, even breaks into applause at the author’s successful feat of derring-do. But so it is with David Ives’s dazzling 2010 “translaptation,” to use his own portmanteau, of Pierre Corneille’s 1643 comedy. Composing in rhymed couplets of iambic pentameter, Ives is arguably the star of the show, much as in Corneille’s and Molière’s theatre, where the cleverness of a turn of phrase was supremely valued. And it’s no small feat to outshine Boscobel’s glorious outdoor playing space, nor the comic performances of the farce’s two leads—Jason O’Connell (Dorante, the tireless titular fabricator), mixing in bits of Nicholson, Brando, and hip-hop rhythms; and Michael Borrelli (Cliton, his valet), providing perfect deadpan complement and impeccable timing. Russell Treyz nimbly directs the complicated-for-its-own-sake tale of ambition, lust, foolishness, mistaken identity, and, yes, twins. In repertory with “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “Othello.”

HVSF’s ‘Othello’ engages from start to finish

photo2-othello-kurtrhodes-leopoldlowe-photobywilliammarsh

By Matt Andrews

For The Poughkeepsie Journal

Published on July 3, 2014

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival opened the third production of its 2014 season, Shakespeare’s tragedy “Othello,” running in repertory through Aug. 31 with “The Two Gentleman of Verona” and David Ives’ “The Liar.” Under the leadership of new Artistic Director Davis McCallum and Executive Director Maggie Whitlum, the region’s professional Shakespeare company is housed at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison and performs in an open-air 540-seat theater tent.

Directed by Associate Artistic Director Christopher V. Edwards, “Othello” continues the festival’s long tradition of Shakespeare eye-candy that is clearly spoken and skillfully performed.

Kurt Rhoads as Iago deftly executes his step-by-step quest to seek revenge against Othello, general of the Venice army, for being passed over for promotion to his personal lieutenant. Rhoads speaks the text so lucidly that one forgets it’s Shakespeare, while always catching the richness of the language.

Nance Williamson, as Iago’s wife Emilia, brings a vibrant emotional connection to her character, a humanistic portrayal that never sits on the fence. Leopold Lowe as Othello is obviously skilled, yet one longs for a more voracious unleashing of misguided jealous rage in later scenes.

Andy Rindlisbach’s Cassio lacks variety but nicely demonstrates the character’s loyalty to Othello, justifying his initial appointment as lieutenant. Susannah Millonzi as Desdemona and Jason O’Connell as Roderigo provide eloquent and poignant performances.

Edwards’ production is expertly staged and always interesting, though there a few elements that distance the audience, limiting their investment in the emotional journeys of the characters. Some of the comedic moments feel like intrusions, jolting the audience instead of luring them in. It is difficult to tell if there is an intended campy quality to the soldiers and secret-service-like attendants. They provide a nice military structure to open the play, but their posturing within is less successful. In terms of casting, there is a stark contrast in the maturity of Iago to the youthfulness of Cassio, and it’s a stretch to accept their similar leadership footing.

These occasional instances do not confuse the greater success of a production filled with unique moments and memorable performances. Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s “Othello” is engaging from start to finish and well worth your time.

 Originally published at http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/entertainment/theater/2014/07/03/hudson-valley-shakespeare-festival/11924909/

Matt Andrews is an associate professor and director of theater at Marist College. Contact him at matthew.andrews@marist.edu

 

HV Shakespeare Festival artfully revives ‘Othello’

By 

For the Times Herald-Record

GARRISON — “Men should be what they seem,” Iago tells his general Othello.

It’s ironic because “Honest” Iago appears to be a loyal, blunt, straightforward, supportive and seasoned soldier who advises his supposed friend Roderigo to “Put money in thy purse” while robbing him blind and urges Othello to watch his wife Desdemona with lieutenant Cassio while plotting each one’s downfall.

Iago is the master manipulator who works out his evil plot gradually but finds too late that his game becomes a life-and-death struggle in Othello’s hands. The villain does not die by the end of the play but is left to be tortured. “It is happiness to die,” Othello claims in this heartrending tragedy.

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is staging a strongly acted revival of “Othello” under the artful direction of Christopher V. Edwards.

Set in modern times, the soldiers in Venice are neatly uniformed or in combat camouflage after they invade Cyprus, while non-military folks are fashionably attired, thanks to Charlotte Palmer-Lane’s spot-on costume designs. The players look and act like our contemporaries, soldiers salute, drill and turn on their heels with precision, in contrast to civilians like Roderigo and Desdemona, who live in a casually different world. This is an Elizabethan classic that speaks to our own racial and sexist society.

Iago dominates this production. Kurt Rhoads, who has played Macbeth, Benedict and other roles in the past, makes sense of Iago’s crazed behavior in his anger at being passed over for promotion in favor of Cassio, his suspicion of his wife Emilia’s infidelities and his hatred of Othello. “I hate the Moor,” he declares over and over even as he carries out orders. Rhoads is hardnosed, cynical, encouraging as an apparent comrade-in-arms to Cassio and others, razor-sharp and self-assured.

As Othello, Leopold Lowe appears confident and in command of military matters, but less sure of himself in dealing with his wife, especially when she crosses the line by interfering in military matters. This Othello lacks self-knowledge in thinking that he will not be “easily jealous” while he quickly turns into a furnace of rage and revenge. Both actors make the long central scene of their shift of roles believable in its irrationality.

As Desdemona, Susannah Millonzi is refreshingly youthful, perky and naïve. She mirrors her surprise and disappointment in Othello’s change of heart toward her in her tender “Sing Willow” scene with Emilia, impeccably portrayed by Nance Williamson as a mature woman utterly shattered by learning the truth of her husband Iago’s vicious actions and her own part in it with the lost handkerchief.

As Roderigo, Jason O’Connell plays the perfect dupe as Desdemona’s love-sick wooer and Iago’s wealthy fool and servant tool.

Stephen Paul Johnson embodies the pompous senator Brabantio with the right emotions of parental fury and then refusal to forgive his daughter, warning Othello, “She has betrayed her father and may thee,” words later echoed by Iago.

As Cassio, Andy Rindlisbach readily falls into Iago’s trap by getting uproariously drunk and then attempting to win back favor through Desdemona.

Magan Wiles makes camp-follower Bianca, Cassio’s mistress, a true original in cowboy hat and short shorts.

In a casting twist that works nicely, Gabra Zackman rules Venice as an authoritative duchess with the assistance of female senators.

Do not miss this chance to experience a contemporary “Othello” that speaks to today in Shakespeare’s own immortal words.

Originally published at http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140701/COMM/407010307/-1/NEWS

WINNER! WHAT HVSF MEANS TO ME #myHVSF

All of our WHAT HVSF MEANS TO ME stories will be shared through the WHAT HVSF MEANS Blog but we had to share the winner!

What HVSF Means Winner
I fell in love with my wife on a date to your performance of Comedy of Errors.
For my 39th birthday I was blindfolded and unknowingly driven to one of the most amazing dates of my life. We arrived at Boscobel at 5pm and had a beautiful picnic overlooking the Hudson river. Growing up in NYC my whole life we had our sights but none ever  took my breath away as when she pulled the blindfold off at that moment. After the amazing picnic and beautiful sunset we started back toward the tent for the performance. Equally beautiful was the way the lights bounced of the tent and made it look so inviting. During the performance, I looked over and saw my wife laughing. In that moment, like a slow motion scene in a movie, I realized that I loved this woman and would someday make her my wife. I guess in life we all try to find our life’s movie moment and I found mine and I am forever thankful.
Every summer I get tickets, we have our picnic and I watch her laugh and despite all that has changed in our lives, jobs, a new baby, I fall in love with her all over again.
Thank you HVSF for the amazing shows we get to enjoy and for giving us a little escape on a beautiful summers night.
- Philip T. Mosa
(picture above shows Philip and his wife Stephanie on their wedding day!)


HVSF from a New Perspective, Part 3

Only a couple weeks left of this wonderful Hudson Valley Shakespeare Season.  As a first timer here at the festival it has been quite an experience and I can’t help but realize that I have spent a full five months (almost half a year!) with this cast, crew, and community.  I think part of what makes this place so special is the amount of time you spend living, playing, and creating with all these people.  It becomes more like a family than anything.  After all the shows are open the apprentices begin taking classes and putting together their own production (This year it is Two Noble Kinsmen and I cannot wait to see it in a few short days!).  We get to participate in In Process.  I was able to do the 10-Minute Play Festival and hope to put together a number for the cabaret with my dearest “sister” Regan (played by Eleanor Handley).  The company never stops working at Hudson Valley–truly a very rare feat.  It is like a school, a lab, and a theatre all rolled into one.  As I take the train back and forth to NYC I catch myself eagerly anticipating coming back to Cold Spring.  I have come to regard Catherine’s in Cold Spring as a second home as well and cannot wait for some of the staff to see The Three Musketeers at the end of this week.  In these last few weeks I hope I can appreciate every sunset over Boscobel, every audience, and every show that I get to preform.  And I know that I will be very sad when it is all over.

- Chiara

Playing The Three Musketeers

Playing Aramis – Kyle Nunn

The mythology of Dumas’ Three Musketeers is so entrenched in our society that playing the role of one of the iconic characters is at once easy and incredibly challenging.  The hard part of creating the character has already been done for me, but there are rather large boots to fill.  The pressure to live up to the legendary role of a musketeer was substantial.  However, on opening night, when pre-show anxiety began to mount, I looked out to the field to see a small child with a musketeer hat and foam sword dueling imaginary enemies.  Instantly, all nerves vanished.  The spirit of fun and playfulness returned along with my memories of dueling the same enemies when I was a child.  Most every young boy has shouted the famous ‘All for One” wishing to be a musketeer, and now I get to live that dream.

Chiara & Kyle

Playing Porthos: Pretentious Paragraphs on Portraying a Paragon – Charlie Murphy

First off, I think it’s worth saying that I got really lucky this season. When I got the call from Terry O’Brien (our artistic director) my first thought (naturally) was that I was thrilled to be returning to this great place, and my second thought was: “wait, I get to play which parts?” One of the most exciting aspects of watching repertory theatre is getting to see actors make large switches from one night to the next (Last year, think Ryan Quinn playing the down-to-earth Friar in Romeo and Juliet and the clownish Costard in Love’s Labour’s Lost or Mike Borelli playing the no-nonsense Prince and the very-much-nonsense Don Armado), but it always takes a certain amount of magic/alchemy in casting to make that happen.

But now, I had to figure out what to actually do with these parts! I’ll leave Edgar/Poor Tom for another blog post, most of which will be written in poetic gibberish (“Flibbertigibbet!”). Porthos, I thought, would actually be the much easier of the two parts. Instinctively, I felt like I understood the farcical comedy of Ken Ludwig (our playwright), and the part read very easily off the page for me. I came into the first rehearsal having done much less preparation than I did for Lear — I had read the book, watched all the movies, and I felt pretty cocksure (perhaps ironically so, given the eventual character portrayal) about how good a Porthos I would be.

That first day our director, Chris Edwards, gave us some thoughts on his concept, and I nodded along with everyone else. This is a timeless and swashbuckling tale of love and honor, he says, and these three men are the equivalent of superheroes, with their powers of courage and loyalty diminished over time by the crushing weight of their enemies, but reinvigorated by their new friend the brave, young D’Artagnan. I would have said a lot of those same things, say I, and my confidence is reaffirmed. The first read-through goes swimmingly (“what a great cast we have assembled!”) and rehearsals are underway. We quickly get the show up on its feet, our fights are looking great (“look at all the cool stuff I get to fight with! Rapiers, daggers, capes, oh my!”), and all is well in the world.

Charlie & India

Then we get to that point in rehearsals when the laughs leave the room. This is completely natural in any comedy–we’ve all seen each other make a lot of the same choices, and we’re dulled to them. We’ve heard the script so many times, and all of us our focusing on the technical elements of our own performance, and not on how funny everyone else is being. At this point, the aforementioned Mr. Edwards gives me a perfectly normal and helpful note: “don’t worry about being funny, Charlie, just play the scene”. No problem, think I, I can play this thing truthfully–in fact, watch me, I’ll show you just how truthfully I can play this! …and all of a sudden, my house of cards comes tumbling down.  I reach back for my “funny” version, and he’s gone, too–a hollow shell of stale choices. Now, I’m not just worried about whether or not I am funny enough (something that, in truth, hadn’t been a large concern before), but am I even playing a Musketeer? All the different versions of  Porthos start flitting through my head: Chris’ thoughts, the book, all the different movies, and Mr. Ludwig’s own potential dichotomy in this stage version (Is Porthos a rougish, belching Bacchus or a foppish clotheshorse of a dandy?). We were three weeks in, and was I nowhere?

Normally, when faced with this kind of character dilemma as an actor, you can always find solace in bringing the character back yourself.  You were cast in the role, and the director must have liked something about your performance, so just find where the character lives in you. But here’s where the “iconic” idea comes into play..would I be enough? The challenge, I told myself, would be not in bringing the character down to my size, but trying to bring myself, Charlie, up to the fullness that is the famous character. I’d spend the next few weeks working on this very idea. One especially helpful thought Chris gave me at a crucial moment was that he thought Porthos was not as smart as I was, or at least not driven by his intellect. This allowed me to get out of my head a bit, and release some of my inner clown/improviser, which has made playing around a lot of fun. Could I now justify the vain and dandyish line “I’m a slave to fashion…tyrannized by a pair of pumps” in one scene, and the brutish “Bring me a wench! I want a wench!” in the next? Why not? When you’re one of the baddest guys in town, you get to fight hard, play hard, and looked darned good doing it.

But the biggest thing that continually helps me play this iconic character is getting to see Porthos through the eyes of our amazing audiences…especially the young kids. Hearing young boys and girls talk back to us (“All for one!”, “Go Musketeers!”, or “This cape is not silk!”) is so invigorating, and constantly helps redefine and solidify my storytelling. When I am culling choices, the barometer of “could a kid in this audience want to grow up and be like this someday?” can outweigh even the all-important “does it get a laugh?”…and from night to night, week to week, the play and our characters can change based on the mirror the audience holds up. I do very much hope that you’ll get a chance to come join us in that audience, and be a part of this great story!

FROM FREDERICK TO ATHOS – Daniel Morgan Shelley

Playing Athos has been quite interesting because I’ve never seen any of the Musketeer movies so I really had no idea who he was prior to auditioning.  The audition scene of telling the fleur de lis story to d’Artagnan gave me a wealth of insight into who the character was, and it was all I needed to want to play him.  At this point, I still haven’t seen the movies, but I did read the Dumas’ novel for research and Athos is by far my favorite character.

As I got further and further into the novel, jewels about Athos just dropped into place giving me more and more fuel to use in developing the character for myself.  Many times it is said that Athos should be a general and that he seemed to be of noble origin.  Other fascinating descriptions are that he has a ‘Perfect indifference’, an ‘Economic use of words’, and a ‘Serious and severe countenance.’

It’s been a challenge finding the balance between the idea of “All For One And One For All” and Athos’ disposition of being alone.  He has his duty of serving the King and the love for his friends but the rest of his life is very isolated.

In rehearsals, Chris and I discussed a bit about Athos having a death wish of sorts.  Not giving over to it, but definitely not fearing it.  In the novel, Athos has amazing lines like, “…has shed blood for you majesty 10 times and is yet ready to shed it again.”, “Let us go and be killed where we are told to go.  Is this life worth so many questions?”, and my favorite “Do you for an instant suppose that I am at all anxious to live?”.  And Chris gave me a great note to play with in our production that when I say to d’Artagnan, “I never hope to kill anyone, I’m only preventing them from killing me.” that maybe that isn’t the complete truth.  Perhaps Athos is hoping that one day, he will meet a swordsman who is more skilled than he is and can relieve him of his misery….however, that day has not yet come.

DMS

And all of this about Athos comes from one thing, a broken heart and a rash decision; one moment which then defined who he’d be for the rest of his life.  And yet, on the other side of this melancholy coin is his love for Porthos, Aramis, and d’Artagnan, who ultimately is the son he never had.  After the fight and scene in the tavern I have this moment of realizing that if my life had gone another way, d’Artagnan undoubtedly would be my son; and that relationship stays very vibrant with me through the rest of the play.  And it actually reminds me of playing Lord Montague last year in Romeo & Juliet and that helpless feeling of wanting to protect your child from the horrors of the world and in no way being able to do so.

So I take all of these factors with me every night as I zip up my doublet bearing our Musketeers symbol, put on my feathered hat and secure my sword into the baldric, and hope that I can give life to this complex character.  It’s never easy, but always fun.

….all for one….

HVSF from a New Perpective, Part 2

All of the shows have come into their own.  With opening nights behind us, we actors have the pleasure of settling into a long run where we can continue to discover the characters and stories we have created.  I’d love to share some thoughts I wrote down a couple weeks ago, when we were still in the throws of technical rehearsals.  Although the final product that we present to an audience is what will be remembered, it is the aching, sometimes difficult, and wonderful work of pulling all the disparate parts together, which makes the theatre so special…

On June 9th, I jotted these thoughts down:
“Last night was the benefit for HVSF.  It was a night straight out of The Great Gatsby–with dancing, stunning views that only Boscabel can provide, and some of the most supportive and energetic donors I have ever encountered. The night before that we performed King Learin the pouring rain (a challenge and a gift). Who wouldn’t want to hear Lear proclaim, “Blow winds” as actual rain pours down over his head?  And today we are facing a long day of technical rehearsals; perfecting the truly fantastical fights in The Three Musketeers.  As you can imagine it has been and will continue to be a couple of very intense weeks.I would describe this part of the actors process as, well, bumpy. Only a week ago we were rehearsing in a New York studio with a few rehearsal props. In the course of a few days we move upstate to the tent (a completely different stage, space, and atmosphere); we start to incorporate wigs, costumes, and makeup; all the while the technical crew creates light and sound cues around us. As you can imagine, it is a somewhat overwhelming experience, but the leviathan always rises out of the depths of the ocean. That is the magic of theatre. All of these elements come together by hook or by crook.”
- Chiara Motley

Costuming All’s Well That Ends Well

It’s appropriate that as I sit writing this blog post about designing costumes for All’s Well That Ends Well that I have the fabulous movie The Princess Bride playing in the background… because it is a bit like our world for All’s Well…

From early on in the design process, Russ asked me to think about this play as a Fairy Tale or Fable… full of iconic characters that live “once upon a time”… and full of madcap witty humor, magical cures, dark shadows, and happy (or at least deserved) endings. The challenge in approaching a design as a fairy tale, especially for a Shakespeare play, is to find a way to tap into that vocabulary without simplifying the sophisticated story… the adultness inherent in Shakespeare’s work.  How do we create a fairy tale for adults?  How do we use the iconic without taking away the pain of unrequited love, the embarrassment of receiving inappropriate affection, the dark places that men in prolonged combat find?

I was an especially lucky costume designer that Russ sent me beautiful pictures of the Unicorn Tapestries and other medieval finds from a recent trip to Europe to inspire me… and I did my own research into the gorgeous, haunting, dark illustrations of Arthur Rackham (if you don’t know his work, I suggest you google him right now)!

And so, after mushing this all up…  along with the creative input of the HVS actors that I have come to adore and admire over the last 3 years: Wes, Jason, and Rick… and the actors I have just met: Jessica who gives Helena a lovely heart, Dan and Dan who make such an enchanting Mother and Son, Ara who will charm you with music, and Jeff who makes a most beguiling wench… I think we have created our Kingdom.  It still has a lot of growing to do, but I hope you will take the journey with us next month.  Now, Inigo is about to find the Man in Black in the Pit of Despair, so I have to go.  See you at Boscobel!

The Widow costume sketch

The Widow costume sketch

 

Countess Costume Sketch

Countess Costume Sketch

Costuming King Lear and Three Musketeers

This season rings a new and exciting challenge for me. It is the first time I have taken on the design of two of the festivals productions. Each show has a very different sensibility, so I spend my days switching from the opulence of c17th century France and the mystic world of Ancient Britain.

I am making full use of our wonderful new costume space at Winter Hill in Garrison, which is at present filled Musketeer hats, Cardinal robes and lots of corsets and on the other side of the studio, the rustic robes of King Lear and his daughters.

The first round of fittings for Three Musketeers have taken place and I am getting ready to fit the cast of Lear in the costumes later next week. All of this work requires expert help , so I am very lucky to have two wonderful assistants working with me . Aleksandra Kolanko has been fashioning beautiful garments for the likes of Milady and the King of France and Jana Violante is busy creating signature pieces for Lear and his clan.

In a few short weeks we will move everything to the tent and start to see the costumes come to life with each actor’s performance.

- Charlotte Palmer-Lane

Milady's dress for the ball in Progress

The Three Musketeers: Milady’s dress, in Progress

Goneril Costume

King Lear: Goneril Costume, ready to be fitted