Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shakespeare as you like it

Express Staff Writer

Patsy Wygle as Olivia in “Twelfth Night” as part of the Sun Valley Shakespeare Festival. Courtesy photo nexStage Theatre

You can have your Shakespeare as you like it over the coming weeks, with cross-dressing in a park or blasphemy on a stage. You can choose from all Shakespeare's traditional glory with "Twelfth Night," directed by Tracy Bersley, in Ketchum's Forest Service Park, or, an abridged version as in "The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged)" as written by The Reduced Shakespeare Company, at the nexStage Theatre.

The nexStage Theatre's Sun Valley Shakespeare Festival kicks off its 13th year opening with an uproarious new production of "The Bible," starring thespian/bartenders Matt Gorby, Will Hemmings and Steve D'Smith. From fig leaves to final judgment, this is an affectionate and irreverent roller coaster ride as three comic actors tackle the great theological questions: Did Adam and Eve have navels? Did Moses really look like Charlton Heston? And why isn't the word phonetic spelled the way it sounds?

Freddie Harris, who serves as the backstage "Bob," said it is the actors' ability to finesse a crowd from pews to barrooms that allows them to deliver a partially ad-libbed, self-directed and hilarious performance.

"It's old fashioned Renaissance style of theater," she said. "They have made up bits for this show that Wood River Valley residents will appreciate."

On Friday, the first person to find the troupe's Jesus wandering the streets of Ketchum and who can quote a verse from the Biblical book of Luke will get a free ticket, Harris said.

The show will play at the theater on Main Street in Ketchum, Sunday, Aug. 12, through Wednesday, Aug. 15 and Sunday, Aug. 19, through Tuesday, Aug. 21, with a final performance Saturday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. Sundays and Mondays are at 7 p.m. and Tuesdays and Wednesdays are at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and available from the box office of the nexStage Theatre or by calling 726-4TKS.

"Twelfth Night" will play Thursday, Aug. 16, through Sunday, Aug. 19 and Thursday, Aug. 23, through Sunday, Aug. 26 on the outdoor stage in the Ketchum Forest Service Park. All shows start at 6 p.m.

Tickets for this can be bought onsite for $20. Picnics, blankets and low chairs are welcome in addition to bleacher seating. For children 12 years and under there is no charge.

This is Shakespeare's comedy of gender confusion, in which a girl disguises herself as a man to be near the count she adores, only to be pursued by the woman he loves.

Bersley, who directs, brings an academic, dramatic approach to the show, asking the actors to explore their characters to bring authenticity to each of them.

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