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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of August 20 - 26, 2003


All’s well when
in the valley

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 Theater.

"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 Gaubumpus.

"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 why.

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.



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