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What To Do: Love’s Labors Lost at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is “Bats#@t Bonkers”

Originally published on July 24, 2023  in What To Do Digital.

Someday, when you’re playing mahjong in Boca you’ll meet someone you never knew from the ABC towns – a great chance to compare notes and make new friends. Until you get the hairy eyeball when you admit you never made it to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. (Won’t be pretty!) That’s how we started our article when we added HVSF to our Bucket List many years ago.

Have you ever felt that you would really like Shakespeare plays if only they weren’t staged in a foreign language? We continued, because the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival performers have great comedic timing and understand that the spaces between words are important too. They are especially at ease with comedies to the point that they take so many liberties that, at times they can get zany.

In this summer’s production of Love’s Labors Lost, they have reached new heights. And frankly have lost their minds! In a good way. So, if you have ever wondered what it would be like to watch Shakespeare on recreational drugs – and by that I don’t mean you but the performers – than click here to get your tickets now! The Bard’s tale about four young noblemen who swear off women to hit the books – until the Princess of France turns up with three friends, is infused with an original pop/rock score from director Amanda Dehnert and Andre Pluess. HVSF’s website insists the score “gives full voice to the heart-pounding experience of being young and in love” and on LSD. We might add.

And if you like when Shakespearian productions play with time and space you will love this production. Because there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to the costumes. You will see some characters dressed in Elizabethan garb, another in a pink South Beach pimp suit, one wears a black plastic bag diaper, the Princess of France and her friends show up in Dreamgirls jump suits, and some guy who I thought was part of the audience is dressed in suburban leisure wear. And while the princess and her entourage and the French noblemen perform rock songs for each other, the noblemen for some reason are cast as a Russian band called The Muscovites. And are dressed in big gold suits that look like they were stolen from the Morgan State marching band.

But you gotta see it!