November 10, 2014

University Theatre presents Shakespeare's 'Love's Labor's Lost'

Guest Director Melora Kordos (front) visits with her cast during a rehearsal for "Love's Labor's Lost," which opens Nov. 13.

Guest Director Melora Kordos (front) visits with her cast during a rehearsal for "Love's Labor's Lost," which opens Nov. 13.

University Theatre continues its season in November with William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” guest directed by Melora Kordos.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 13-15 and 18-21 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 23 in Howell Theatre, first floor of the Temple Building.

Tickets are available at the Lied Center ticket office or online. Tickets are $16 for the general public, $14 for faculty/staff/senior citizen and $10 for students with ID. Lied Center ticket office hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the ticket office at 402-472-4747 or 800-432-3231 to pay with Visa/Mastercard. Available tickets will also be available for purchase one hour prior to curtain in the Temple Lobby.

One of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies, “Love’s Labor’s Lost” follows the King of Navarre and his three companions as they attempt to avoid the company of women for three years of studying and fasting and their subsequent infatuation with the Princess of France and her ladies, who come for a diplomatic discussion over land.

“This is one of Shakespeare’s plays called the ‘problem plays’ because it has this weird twist all of a sudden,” Kordos said. “We go from this very light, silly comedy for the entire play, and then near the end, it just turns 180 degrees.”

Some researchers think there must have been a sequel, given how it somewhat abruptly ends, but Kordos has a different theory.

“Queen Elizabeth was on the throne at the time, and everything was written to please her,” Kordos said. “This is a very strong woman. Shakespeare’s women are strong, independent and intelligent. I think he was writing to honor her, the virgin Queen, who never got married and who took politics and her own responsibilities more seriously. The Princess is taking her responsibilities seriously in this play. But there are many scholars who will argue that with me.”

For this production, Kordos is setting the piece in the 1890s to keep it as a historic piece.

“The late 19th century sat well because of everything going on at the time, especially in France,” Kordos said. “The World Trade Exposition had just happened. It was this renaissance of art and culture. We’re about to start the women’s suffrage movement. This is an exciting time, and all the pieces just seemed to fit really well.”

The cast includes 17 students. David Michael Fox, a senior performance major from Nebraska City, plays King Ferdinand.

“I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with the other leading men in this performance because we get to show some real camaraderie on stage and have a lot of fun playing off one another,” Fox said. Kordos and the students also worked well together, according to Fox.

Kordos received a master’s degree in fine arts from The Academy for Classical Acting at the Shakespeare Theatre through George Washington University and her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College. She has been a professional actor and director for more than 20 years and continues to teach Shakespeare workshops and acting classes.

One of her personal goals in life is to either direct or act in every play in the Shakespeare canon. Currently on her 17th play, this will be the first time she has been involved with “Love’s Labor Lost.”

The popularity of Shakespeare is constant due to the ease that people can relate to the common themes of his plays, according to Kordos.

“It’s a slice of life. There’s no villain or world-ending incidents,” said Thomas Boyle, a senior performance major from Omaha, who plays Don Adriano de Armado. “This is a story about people and what is important to them.”