Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Love's Labour's Lost

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Tripaway Theatre calls it "Shakespeare's most unpopular comedy." No question, the play is full of in-jokes that, four centuries later, are DOA. But Tripaway's open-air revival of this courtly comedy (offered last weekend in Lincoln Park and this weekend in Bucktown) deserves an audience. Director Karin Shook refuses to succumb to the creaky plot--four scholar-courtiers who vainly flee the shafts of Cupid--instead inspiring the 15 rough-and-ready actors to combat Shakespeare's sometimes tedious raillery with hearty slapstick. Dressed in burlap vests and black shorts and cartoon-faced in white makeup, the players employ outsize gestures and leather-lunged projection to hold their own against outdoor distractions. It works: the young cast brings a hormonal urgency to this mating play--it's as if the French court had become a ritualized singles bar. Nobody's labor's lost here. Association House lawn, 2150 W. North. Saturday and Sunday, 3 and 8 PM.

--Lawrence Bommer

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Todd Norwood.

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