HVSF: Love's Labour's Lost

Lord Berowne (Jason O'Connell) attempts in vain to woo Lady Rosaline (Katie Hartke). They match each other in wit and trickery. Photo by William Marsh

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival put on another successful performance in their adaption of Shakespeare’s comedy, Love’s Labour’s Lost to the cozy Boscobel auditorium.

The play begins with King Ferdinand of Navarre (Richard Ercole) swearing a three-year oath to dedicate himself to academia. His oath includes abstaining from food and females. The king also demands that three lords in his court swear the same oath. The Lord Berowne (Jason O’Connell) is the most adamant against such a proposal. The opening scenes set the stage for a play of wit, irony and humor.

Soon after swearing themselves to such a serious oath, the lovely Princess of France (Denise Cormier) arrives with her three ladies. As one might predict, the King’s court is thrown into a dither.  Plots begin to unravel as how each lord might woo each lady in disguise.

Love’s Labour’s Lost revolves around language. Shakespeare packs his comedies full of puns and quick-humor, which can be lost if the audience is not paying attention or if the actors do not communicate the lines clearly.

However, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare festival did a great job of breathing life into Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Jason O’Connell left the audience in laughter as Berowne. He is the essence of humor and well-spoken language.

Katie Hartke as Rosaline, counterbalanced O’Connell’s character . Rosaline makes Berowne look like a fool through her trickeries and cleverness. Hartke and O’Connell are a good match for one another. They seem to bounce off each other’s energy and jesting, resulting in amusing interactions.

While the main plot of the play revolves around the king, princess, three lords and three ladies, the supporting characters assist in making the performance complete. Don Adriano de Armado (Michael Borrelli) plays the conceited fool in the story. He loves himself. He loves his own voice. Yet his page boy, Moth, (Patrick Halley) has a superior intelligence. Borelli excelled in playing the love-struck, narcissistic Spanish knight.

Boyet, the lord who attends the Princess, played by Wesley Mann hit the right notes of sarcasm; he was a player who played the role well.  

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s interpretation of Love’s Labour’s Lost was engaging—helped along by the musical number after intermission. It’s a great production.

The Princess of France (Denise Cormier) shows her prowess as an archer and as a trickster. Photo By William Marsh
Jason O'Connell's skill and animation came out well in the character of Lord Berowne. Photo by William Marsh