By now, we hope you’re aware that Love’s Labor’s Lost is part of our 2023 season! However, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some lesser-known facts about this Shakespearean comedy.
① HVSF History
Originally planned for our 2020 season, Love’s Labor’s Lost had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to finally bring this production to The Tent this summer, featuring director Amanda Dehnert, who also directed Kate Hamill’s Pride and Prejudice in 2017. This is a story we’ve been eagerly waiting to share with audiences for over three years and we can’t wait to see it come to life on stage.
② The Original Title
Love’s Labor’s Lost was originally titled as Love’s Labour’s Lost, which is an example of the British spelling in the 16th century. The play’s title is a pun on the proverbial saying “All’s Well That Ends Well.” The play was first published in 1598, and it is believed to have been written sometime between 1594 and 1597.
③ The Language!
As with all of Shakespeare’s plays, the language in Love’s Labor’s Lost is beautiful and poetic. However, it also contains many puns and wordplay, which can make it challenging. Director Amanda Dehnert addresses this by incorporating a contemporary music approach. By doing so, she is able to create a different context for the scenes and deepen the emotional experience of the characters. The music provides texture that is sometimes not allowed in the text – this is where Dehnert’s brilliance shines through.
④ The Characters
The play follows the story of four young men of Navarre, the King, Longaville, Dumaine, and Berowne, who have sworn to avoid all distractions and focus solely on their studies. But when the Princess of France and her ladies, Katherine, Maria, and Rosaline, arrive on a diplomatic mission, the men find themselves falling in love with them. The play explores themes of love and politics, set against the backdrop of Navarre, a small independent kingdom in the Pyrenees mountains between Spain and France.
⑤ The Adaptations
Love’s Labor’s Lost has been adapted into many different forms over the years, including a musical, an opera, and several films. One of the most famous adaptations is the 2000 film “Love’s Labour’s Lost” directed by Kenneth Branagh, which sets the play in the 1930s and features a cast of well-known actors singing and dancing to classic songs. Amanda’s adaptation had one previous production at OSF in 2018, and she’s continuing to refine it for the HVSF production, and the context of the Tent.