It was hard not to smile as the cast of What You Will skillfully serenaded the audience with the pop song “Happy” prior to the start of the play. That same joy continued as the play’s director, Professor Travis Curtright, was presented with the Laub-Novak Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Playing to a packed small classroom, the opening night cast gave an extremely confident and uproariously funny performance of Shakespeare’s comic tale of a lord, a lady, courtiers, shipwrecked twins, concealed identity, confused and unrequited love – and a very witty and bawdy jester. Well-sung, well-chosen pop music punctuated the play as if the songs were selected by the Bard himself.*
With no set, minimal props, and an extremely intimate venue, the evening depended entirely on the skill of the actors and the director. Those who had seen the AMU Shakespeare in Performance troupe in prior years somehow expected an excellent evening of entertainment despite the extremely humble circumstances.
And the cast did not disappoint. As the troupe and audience sipped champagne at the post-performance party, Travis and his wife Mary were beaming.
Someone on hand observed that the play’s message is something every society needs. While throughout much of the play the characters’ eros is confused and misdirected (a perennial problem), Shakespeare leads the characters and the audience to choose romantic resolutions that are clear and well-ordered. Shakespeare’s art moves characters and audience toward agape – from what we will toward what we ought.
Tickets are free but you must reserve seats in advance at AveShakespeare@gmail.com. All shows are held in the Academic Building, room 1019 at Ave Maria University. Dates and start times are below:
Wed, 4/23: 7:30 PM.
Thurs, 4/24, 7:30 PM.
Fri, 4/25: Sold Out!
Sat, 4/26, 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Sun, 4/27, 2:00 PM
All evening shows begin seating at 7:00 PM, pre-show starts at 7:15, doors close at 7:30. Afternoon shows begin seating at 1:30 PM, pre-show starts at 1:45, doors close at 2:00.
[*That Bard reference goes a bit too far, I know.]