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‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ celebrates Shakespeare’s 450th birthday

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The Appalachian State University student production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” closed Sunday, ending the first event of the High Country Theatre League’s celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

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The Lord attending the Princess of France reads a love letter to her and her ladies. Photo courtesy of Derek Gagnier

The show took a modern twist on the classic Shakespeare comedy, setting the play in a roaring 1920s period. The play featured all Appalachian students and original music written by junior music composition major Daniel Bukin.

The production ran from Wednesday to Sunday and sold more than 1,000 tickets, Valborg Box Office Manager Sarah Heustess said.

The comedic nature of the production allowed many cast members to have flexibility with their roles, including junior design and technical theatre major Wyatt Stanford, who normally would have worked off stage.

“Our backstage technician actually decided to take on the role of a gardener,” said Courtney Wahlers, cast member and sophomore theatre arts education major. “His character is completely made up and the part wound up being really funny.”

Sophomore theatre and psychology major Kimmy Fiorentino, a lord in the play, said that her small part allowed her to experiment with her character.

“It’s interesting because I don’t really have a character,” Fiorentino said. “I got to do a lot with creating my own. I had freedom to try things out and [director and theatre and dance professor Derek Gagnier] would tell me whether or not to adjust my role.”

Kimberly Hinrichs, a freshman elementary education major who attended the show, said she really enjoyed the modern interpretation of the play. A Shakespeare fan for years, Hinrichs said she believes the plays to be instantly more relatable when set in a new time period.

“Shakespeare plays are beautiful the way they are originally created, but I enjoy them more when I can connect them with a culture that I am more familiar with,” Hinrichs said.

Fiorentino said that in order to make the play more accessible to the audience, the cast spent a lot of time working on the text before entering actual rehearsals. The language of the play can be confusing for a lot of audience members.

“The crowds have been excellent, some of the jokes are so old that there’s a chance people won’t get them, so it’s always nice when we get the laughs and know that we have conveyed the lines in a way that will help people understand them,” Fiorentino said.

Between shows, the cast stayed close-knit by spending time together outside of the show, and playing Disney songs before stage time, Wahlers said.

“We all just worked together to make the best production that we could,” Wahlers said. “It’s sad to see the production come to an end.”

Story by Kelsey Hamm, Intern A&E Reporter

Photo courtesy of Derek Gagnier

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