All’s well when
in the valley
By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer
Phrases, which modern day humanity has
taken to its bosom, include many which originated with Will Shakespeare, such as
"much ado about nothing," "to be or not to be" and "all’s well that ends well."
The latter is the title of one of the bard’s most curious comedies.
Dean Cerutti, Larry Kelly and Claudia
McCain star in "All’s Well That Ends Well." Courtesy photo
That play is being produced by the Sun
Valley Shakespeare Festival, a part of Sun Valley Performing Arts, from Aug. 22
to Aug. 24 and Aug. 27 to Aug. 31, at 6 p.m. in the Ketchum Forest Service Park.
As well, a Renaissance Fair kicks off the week of Shakespeare on Saturday, Aug.
23, from noon to 5 p.m.
The valley was privy to a parody of the
play earlier this summer, when the Troubadour Theatre Company presented "All’s
Kool That Ends Kool" at The Liberty Theatre in Hailey. Even so, this production
also has music, mischief and laughs and is a grand way to introduce folks of any
age to Shakespeare.
Directed by Lisa Tromovitch, "All’s Well
that Ends Well" is set during the Renaissance in Rousilion—once a country, now a
region, in France—Florence and Paris. The King is sick. He is persuaded by
Helena, the daughter of his late doctor, that she can heal him. In return, if he
lives, he promises to wed her to any man she wants. Unfortunately, the chosen
fellow, a count named Bertram though gorgeous is a bit of an immature dolt. He
does not want Helena, as she is—horrors!—an orphaned commoner.
Directed by San Francisco Director Lisa
Tromovitch, the play whirls its way around the mistaken identities, tricks,
misbehavior and swordplay characteristic of Shakespeare’s plays.
Tromovitch directed "Belle of Amherst"
here in 2001. She is the artistic director of Valley Shakespeare Festival in
Dublin Calif., and has also worked with the Maine Shakespeare Festival, ACT
Conservatory, PCPA Theaterfest, Dallas Shakespeare Festival, and The Old Globe
"I love this play," Tromovitch said. "The
playwright is dealing with compassion. He lets characters make mistakes and lets
them live through it, move on and learn."
Featuring bi-coastal actress Pamela Dubin
as the heroine Helena, the rest of the cast is made up of well-known valley
actors, including Claudia McCain as her protectress and Bertram’s mother, Robert
Rais as Parolles, Larry Klein as the King, Emily Dreyfuss as Diana, and Nick
Green and Matt Gorby play the brothers DuMaine, J. D. Ryan as LaFew and Casey
Mott as Bertram. Theater apprentices, who have taken part in an educational
internship this summer under Rais’ supervision, are Alex Able, Alice Bynum,
Allison Bray, Richard Boullon, Echo Lynn Christensen, Shane Harrison, and Susie
"I totally disagree with the scholars who
decided it was a ‘problem’ play," Tromovitch said. "They think it’s not a happy
ending. But Helena is such a strong women and the fairy tale is reversed."
Wanting Bertram to love her, even after
they are wed against his wishes, Helena chases him to Italy where he has run
away to join the wars.
But mistakes are made despite the elders
continual advisement to the younger characters in the story.
"Shakespeare has numerous lines about
elders mentoring the younger characters; ‘he is an unseasoned courtier,’ the
countess says to LaFew, while asking him to intercede. The message is that the
elders need to mentor the youth, and that youth needs to mature, and forgiveness
is possible," Tromovitch said.
In reading the play without
preconceptions, she realized the play was often misunderstood.
"I’m not interpreting it, it’s there in
the play. The mistakes Bertram makes are the mistakes of youth. He is constantly
being called ‘young Bertram’ and described as rash and unbridled. It’s a
reminder that we have to be adults. Youth is not evil; they make mistakes and
need to be guided. We’re all fallible. It’s not interpretation. There’s line
after line, scene after scene that say these things."
On the other hand, Helena is a strong,
smart women whom, even though she uses manipulation goes, after what she wants.
No wonder the scholars have dubbed it one of the "problem" plays along with
"Measure for Measure," and "Troilus and Cressida."
Tromovitch intends to refute that and show
that instead it’s a comedy, and also a play about merit, just who is worthy and
The Renaissance Fair is being held on the
Saturday following opening night of "All’s Well." The fair, a collaboration of
talents in the community that includes the Sun Valley Shakespeare Ensemble, the
Sun Valley Swords, jugglers, Magical Fortunes: Palmistry and Sacred Symbolism, a
Medieval Combat Society display, Renaissance musicians, wandering minstrels, a
falconer, Children’s Medieval Arts, Ye Olde Iconoclastic Book Shoppe.
"The whole point of the fair is to promote
people’s love of Shakespeare, and to make Shakespeare’s time fun and to
encourage people to come see the play. Prue Hemmings, who is charge of the
Renaissance Fair said. "The play is brilliant."
The fun begins with a parade from nexStage
Theatre at 11:45 a.m. and proceeds to the park where the Mayor of Ketchingham,
Sir Ed Simon, will officially open the festivities. The King and Queen,
portrayed by Ketchum residents John Furey and Cathy Reinheimer, will welcome
visitors to the Elizabethan world of jugglers, swordplay, medieval combat,
poets, lords and ladies, squires, knights, wenches and maidens.
For refreshments, innkeeper Chris Orr will
be serving ales and victuals at Ye Olde Rotten Apple Tavern, or for those
wishing something grander, there is a King’s Table Feast served al fresco by the
Royal Chef Judith McQueen. Donation tickets for the feast are $25 each.
And with this production summer comes to a
close, or as they say, all’s well that ends well.