By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
That gracious Bard, long dead, still but lives within those walls of play and pantomime. That is to say, there is Shakespeare in Garden Grove at the Festival Amphitheatre on Main Street, starting tonight (Thursday).
The opening play for this year’s season of Shakespeare Orange County will be “Two Gentlemen of Verona.”
But why this play, this year?
According to Thomas Bradac, producing artistic director of Shakespeare Orange County, this play was a good pick for a opening production because it is essentially a romantic comedy.
“[It’s] perfect for a warm summer night in Garden Grove,” said Bradac, “The play resonates with friendship, betrayal, loyalty and humor…timely in any age.”
This trope of love, friendship, confusion and wayward affections comes to the stagesunder the direction of Carl Reggiardo.
Ryan Shively will play Valentine, Michael Eric Strickland plays Proteus.
Amanda Zarr is Silvia and Kim Blair Shively is Julia.
Proteus and Valentine are the best of friends in the beginning of the play. Proteus declares his affections for the lovely Julia. As a token of her affections, Julia gives him a symbolic ring.
Proteus shortly leaves to join Valentine at the court.
However, once Proteus reaches the court, he tries to steal Silvia from Valentine and another man, the boorish Thurio.
Julia, dressed as a page boy named Sebastian, comes into Valentine’s service and at one point delivers Silvia the ring that she, as Julia, had given to Valentine.
Valentine wanted to elope with Silvia, but was betrayed by Proteus and then banished to the forest, where he becomes the king of the outlaws.
After this, more confusion, violence, intrigue and scheming take place, but the end of the play can’t be spoiled here.
“Two Gentlemen of Verona” will be at the Festival Amphitheatre at 12740 Main St. in Garden Grove starting today through July 31. Tickets are $32 and military and their families get in for free with valid identification.
On Thursdays, it’s “Pay What You Will,” with no specific donation amount requested for those who want to see the play but can’t afford full price.