Hampshire Shakespeare Company Announces 2003 Summer Season
April 22, 2003 - Hadley, MA - For its first presentation of a Shakespearean history play,
this summer Hampshire Shakespeare Company presents the Bard's most popular example of the genre, Richard III, followed by his
"great feast of language" comedy, Love's Labors Lost. Shakespeare Under the Stars at the Hartsbrook School at
193 Bay Road in Hadley combines fully staged productions on an acoustically lively but intimate outdoor stage taking advantage of the
beauty of a rural setting with the Holyoke range in the background.
Under the direction of R. Dean Acheson, a seasoned Hampshire Shakespeare cast joins Stephen Eldredge who plays the title
role in Richard III. Acheson promises an exciting production that will open with the battle that brought the Yorks to power in
the War of the Roses and left the field open for Richard's ambition to exploit. Richard III opens on June 25 and plays
Wednesdays through Sundays at 7 pm through July 13.
Amherst director Jim Ellis will supervise the antics of love-struck lords and ladies, and assorted eccentric villagers,
in Love's Labors Lost, a play almost totally disregarded until well into the 20th century, but now deservedly among the most
popular. Love's Labors Lost runs Wednesday through Sunday from July 16 through 27.
The popularity of Shakespeare's epic tale of unbridled villainy, Richard III, is not really difficulty to
understand. The twisted despot is the image of evil, capable of producing chills at the same time that he winningly celebrates
his own horrible cunning. We shake our heads as he turns sworn enemies into accomplices and successfully woos the widow of one
of his victims. The skill with which the playwright draws the net of collusion around even the audience reveals the power of
language and conviction to sway public opinion and cover up horrendous deeds for "the good of the state."
In Love's Labors Lost, the King of Navarre and three other young noblemen set themselves up for failure when
they renounce the company of women for three years, intending to devote themselves to study and the ascetic life. Intellectual
intent gives way to natural inclinations, however, when the Princess of France and three of her ladies come on business to Navarre
and quickly reduce the lords to lovesick suitors. They ply the ladies with poems, a masque of Muscovites, and a pageant of the
Nine Worthies as performed by the locals: "the pedant, the braggart, the hedge-priest, the fool, and the boy." The HSC Young
Company will present its own production of Love's Labors Lost on August 1-3, also at 7 pm. Laura Patnode directs this group.
The venue at The Hartsbrook School is handicapped-accessible. Chairs are provided, and audience members can also
choose to sit on the grass. Audience members are welcome to bring picnics to enjoy in the beautiful rural setting. All
seating is general admission, with early comers seated first. All performances proceed on a weather-permitting basis. Umbrellas
are offered to the audience in the event of a sudden downpour or light rain. We do not perform in torrential rain. In the
event of a cancellation, all tickets will be honored at any future performance. General admission tickets are $15, students and
seniors $10, and children (to age 18) $6. Groups of 10 or more can purchase blocks of tickets for 20% off regular prices.
Because of on-stage violence, Richard III is not recommended for children under 13 years. For schedule, group sales and
ticket information, visit the Company's web site (www.hampshireshakespeare.org) or call 413-788-4750.
Hampshire Shakespeare Company receives support from 2003 Season Sponsors Hadley Printing and WFCR. In addition,
Richard III costumes are supported by a grant from the Nan and Matilda Heydt Fund administered by Fleet National Bank and by the
Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Additional funding of this project is provided by grants from the Amherst, Hadley
and Leverett Cultural Councils, local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Dramaturgical support for
Richard III was made possible by the Haymarket Community Corporation / Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA).
Now in its thirteenth year, the Company remains true to its mission to make accessible to audiences and actors a range
of theatre experiences from the most profound to the most playful. Included in this mission is the group's dedication to education
through the medium of the performing arts.
As members of the Young Company, young actors (teens) are cast in smaller roles in the mainstage production and will
then step into the principal roles for their own production. Additional young actors will join this company for one intensive week
of rehearsal culminating in a fully produced weekend of performance, August 2-4. In addition to this program, a full schedule of
Summer Theatre Workshops led by theatre professionals is offered for children from 5 through 17. Christine Stevens heads the
educational program (413-549-4881).
Consult the web site for complete details about all the Hampshire Shakespeare Company's many activities
(www.hampshireshakespeare.org) or call 413-788-4750.