Bondo Wyszpolski

Beach arts – Shakespeare by the Sea

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Shakespeare by the Sea treturns to Valley Park in Hermosa Beach with “The Winter’s Tale” on Wed., July 11 and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” on Thurs., July 12. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Bondo Wyszpolski

Each year, and this is their 21st, Shakespeare by the Sea literally begins, and ends, by the sea, at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro. Then, like the troupers and troubadours they are, they take their productions up and down the coast and inland to such cities as Whittier and South Pasadena. By now the company has attempted all but one or two of the Bard’s plays, and the annual repertoire almost always features one comedy and one drama, or something light and something sobering. And this year?

The ensemble begins with “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” which is being described as “a rollicking romantic comedy that tells of Falstaff’s folly: courting two married women at the same time. It’s mischief and mayhem galore.”

The play is being directed by long-time company member (director and actor) Cylan Brown. This is what he says about tackling it:

“I am fascinated with ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ because it is Shakespeare’s only portrayal of the Elizabethan middle class. It’s also the only play he named solely after his female characters, which is fitting as it is a sheer delight to watch the two wives of Windsor pull their delicious pranks on the overconfident Falstaff. With colorful characters including bombastic French doctors, secret young lovers, jealous husbands and comically awkward suitors, we are treated to lighthearted shenanigans as the denizens of this small borough gossip, hatch plans and plot revenges against one another.”

Opening a week later and then running in tandem with “Windsor” is “The Winter’s Tale,” this being “the story of Leontes, a King who banished his family wrongfully, only to be taught the meaning of forgiveness through the inspired plan of a wise, loyal woman.”

Stephanie Coltrin directs this one, and like Cylan Brown she’s been with Shakespeare by the Sea for many years. She begins with a direct quote: “It is required you do awake your faith.”

“‘The Winter’s Tale’ is one of Shakespeare’s final and finest creations and I am thrilled to be directing it for our 21st season,” she says. “The story illustrates the epic, heartbreaking, tragic consequences of jealousy, but, unlike Shakespeare’s tragedies, provides redemption and forgiveness in the form of a miracle. Filled with extraordinary language, its drama is matched by its comedy, and throughout there is a sense of the magical power of grace. When what’s gone and what’s past help is not past grief, the story reminds us that what was lost can indeed be found.”

All events are free (but you can donate). Bring food, blankets, and comfortable clothes. These are the various South Bay locations:

 

San Pedro – Point Fermin Park

807 Paseo del Mar

8 p.m.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

June 14, 15, 16, 28, 30, July 6, August 18

The Winter’s Tale

June 21, 22, 23, 29, July 5, 7, August 17

 

Rancho Palos Verdes – Hesse Park

29301 Hawthorne Blvd.

7 p.m.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

July 9

 

Hermosa Beach  – Valley Park

Valley & Gould

2521 Valley Dr.

7 p.m.

The Winter’s Tale

July 11

The Merry Wives of Windsor

July 12

 

San Pedro – Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles

3601 S. Gaffey St.

7 p.m.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

July 20

 

Torrance – Charles H. Wilson Park

2200 Crenshaw Blvd.

7 p.m.

The Winter’s Tale

July 27

The Merry Wives of Windsor

July 28

 

Rancho Palos Verdes – Terranea Resort

100 Terranea Way

7 p.m.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

July 29

($10 parking; not outside food allowed, but cash bar and picnic cuisine available onsite)

 

Manhattan Beach – Polliwog Park

1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd.

7 p.m.

The Winter’s Tale

August 10

The Merry Wives of Windsor

August 11

 

For more information, call (310) 217-7596

shakespearebythesea.org

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