Breaking Vows Beneath the Stars

Free Shakespeare in the Park brings Love’s Labour’s Lost to Amazon Park

Lydia reynolds (left), Stephanie McCall and Isabella Lay in Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Lydia reynolds (left), Stephanie McCall and Isabella Lay in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Photo credit: Tracy Ilene Miller

The passion of a young scholar knows no bounds. In the pursuit of knowledge, the King of Navarre and his best friends swear a sacred vow to renounce sleep, wine and even women for three years as they engage solely in educating themselves.

Then the witty Princess of France and her ladies in waiting arrive at the court of Navarre to negotiate a land dispute. Mayhem ensues.

Love’s Labour’s Lost is among the funniest, most whimsical of Shakespeare’s love stories. According to Sarah Cassady, who is currently directing the play for Free Shakespeare in the Park (FSITP): “Love’s Labour’s Lost has wonderful characters full of physical humor and sassy remarks. This show will have you roaring with laughter at what love can do to a person.”

This is going to make for some raucous evenings at Amazon Park. Eugene’s FSITP has been running steadily for the past 17 years, incorporating a cast of first-timers and veteran actors as they bring a free and joyful Shakespeare experience to anyone who shows up at the park.

The cast features actors ages 13 to 76. “Having a wide range of actors from novices to seasoned professionals is what Free Shakespeare in the Park is all about,” Cassady explains. “Together, novice actors can work alongside professionals and build valuable skills as actors.”

Cassady says such a wide range of ages and experience is rivaled by regional diversity as well. “We have actors from as far away as New York, Virginia and L.A., as well as actors who have been a part of FSITP for years,” she explains. “This cast has impressed me with their wide assortment of talents and accolades.”

One of the most alluring aspects of seeing Shakespeare outdoors is how the setting strips away so much of the fuss and bother of modern theater, leaving only actors and audience in communication. “Our goal as performers is that the community delights in our telling of Shakespeare’s words and that they feel enriched by these characters,” Cassady says. “We look forward to seeing everyone out in the park.”

Free Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Love’s Labour’s Lost plays 6 pm Saturdays and Sundays, Aug. 6-28, on the south lawn at Amazon Community Park & Center. For further info, visit the company’s Facebook page.