Thursday, August 10, 2017

How Lost is Love's Labour?

As Bad Quarto Productions stands ready to preview its production of Love's Labour's Lost: The First Quarto, our second production of the 2017 season, I keep coming back to something that's always nagged me about this comedy: how lost is love's labour really? Ferdinand and his men don't get to marry the Princess and her ladies at the end of the play as they had hoped, but they've all extracted a promise to marry when the gentlemen have made certain proofs of their characters to those ladies.


In early modern London, a promise to marry was legally binding in a way that modern marriage proposals are not. The abundance of pregnant brides in the period (including Anne Hathaway) is partially explained by the religious allowance that, for a marriage to be legitimate before God, all the couples needed to do was to make a solemn promise to each other before God: neither the church nor state were necessarily involved in what could be considered a private matter (Dolan 622). These promises were legally enforceable in church courts, however, and it seems unlikely that the sober-minded Princess of France and her equally pragmatic ladies would make such promises in vain, even if state marriages were of a different order than common ones (Dolan 622). The labours of love that Ferdinand and his men are enjoined to have not even begun by the play's conclusion, but the rewards for their successful completions seems certain.

As for the labours that Ferdinand and his men have already undertaken? The Princess (by then Queen) and her ladies interpret them:
At courtshyp pleasant iest and courtecie,
As bombast and as lyning to the time:
But more deuout then this our respectes,
Haue we not been, and therefore met your Loues,
In their owne fashyon like a merriment.
        (TLN 2738 - 2742)
Ferdinand and his men have presented their love as trifles (literally), not as something sacred, and the ladies have replied in kind. As is typical in Shakespeare's comedies, as we see see in virtually all of them, women are masters of the art of love, and serve as tutors to their undergraduate gentlemen.

What makes this lesson particularly poignant is that, in director Alex Dabertin's analysis, the King of France sends his daughter on this embassy to Ferdinand with the idea of a political marriage in mind. This reading is in keeping with Boyet's lines:
Now Maddame summon vp your dearest spirrits,
Cosider who the King your father sendes:
To whom he sendes, and whats his Embassie.
Your selfe, helde precious in the worldes esteeme,
To parlee with the sole inheritoure
Of all perfections that a man may owe,
Matchles Nauar, the plea of no lesse weight,
Then Aquitaine a Dowrie for a Queene.
        (TLN 492 - 499).
And it is certainly within the realpolitik of the period. But at the end of the play, she is Queen of France, and not merely princess, and knowing the professed truth of Ferdinand's love, is able to force him to Biblical terms: if Ferdinand truly loves her, following the example of Genesis 29:20, his year of labour will only seem a few days, and they will enjoy more than a political match.

That said, one could plausibly read the title as a promise that Ferdinand and his gentlemen will fail in their yet-to-be-performed labours. How you view the loss of love's labour in the play is, in this way, a measure of your own feelings as to the truth of Ferdinand, Longaville, Dumain, and Berowne's love.

Citations

Billings, Timothy Ed. Love's Labour's Lost (Quarto I, 1598). By William Shakespeare. Internet Shakespeare Editions. University of Victoria. 5 Aug. 2017. Accessed 5 Aug. 2017. <http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/doc/LLL_Q1/complete/>

Dolan, Frances. "Shakespeare and Marriage: An Open Question." Literature Compass. 9 Aug. 2011. Hoboken: Blackwell Publishing. 620 - 634. Web. Accessed 4 Aug. 2017. <http://english.ucdavis.edu/sites/english.ucdavis.edu/files/users/fdolan/Dolan%2C%20Shakespeare%26Marriage.pdf>

Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition. Tolle Lege Press, 2006. Biblegateway.com. Web. Accessed 5 Aug. 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/1599-Geneva-Bible-GNV/>  

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Meet the company of Love's Labour's Lost: The First Quarto

We're excited to open Love's Labour's Lost: The First Quarto on August 12th, and we think it's about time you met our company for the show....

Amy Hayes, Audrey Brown, Courtney M. McClellan, Kevin Dang, Kitty Mortland, Marcella Pereda, Martin Goldberg, Max Stein, Melody Lam, Natasha Cole, Olivia Vessel, Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti, Rebekah Carrow, Samantha Burkland, and Alex Dabertin; The company of Bad Quarto Productions' upcoming Love's Labour's Lost: The First Quarto
Amy Hayes, Audrey Brown, Courtney M. McClellan, Kevin Dang, Kitty Mortland,
Marcella Pereda, Martin Goldberg, Max Stein, Melody Lam, Natasha Cole,
Olivia Vessel, Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti, Rebekah Carrow, Samantha Burkland, and Alex Dabertin;
The company of Bad Quarto Productions' upcoming Love's Labour's Lost: The First Quarto


Amy Hayes
 (HolfernesAmerica Is Hard to See, Life Jacket Theatre, NYC.  Regional: Hesther, Equus (Oldcastle Theatre); Mistress Ford, Merry Wives of Windsor (IndyShakes); Gertrude, Hamlet (Indianapolis); Tour Guide/Doctor, No Exit’s Middletown (Indy), Hermione, The Winter’s Tale (Indy Shakes), Mama,Distracted, Wisdom Tooth Theatre (Indy), Jasmine, Chris White’s Thawat Indyfringe.  Film and TV: Mrs. Samuelson in The Celebrant with Rae Dawn Chong and Reparation with Jon Huertas. Artistic Director, Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project.  Recording Projects: Some Things Never Change, Hidden Graces (Spring House); Books: A Collection of Wednesdays (Zondervan/Harper Collins).

Audrey Brown (Longaville) Going three years strong as a New York based actor, Audrey is elated to be cast in her first Bad Quarto Production play. Audrey moved from Nevada to attend the Lee Strasberg Institute after graduating with a BA in Theatre and International Affairs. Before making her move east, she discovered her love for Shakespeare and classical theatre after working with Shakespearean Actor, Author and producer, Ben Crystal in a production of Hamlet. This experience ignited a love for the language and ensemble work that couldn’t have been found anywhere else. Audrey was most recently on set of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as well as in a production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Special shout out and all the love to my family who have taught me the true meaning and importance of perseverance and support.

Courtney M. McClellan (Berowne) is an actor/voiceover artist, graphic designer, teaching artist, and Artistic Associate at Bad Quarto Productions. Courtney is also a proud Equity Member Candidate. Recent credits include What Lamb, What Ladybird! and The Life and Death of Jack Straw with Bad Quarto Productions, Garbage Person Karaoke with the Capital Fringe Festival (Washington D.C.), As You Like It (La Belle/Phoebe) with Shakespeare Off-Broadway, Whatchamacallit and, "Luck Bar Scene," and "No Plan B" with the Skeleton Rep, and Ripper at Times Scare. BA Communications/Theatre, Hampton University; McCaskill Studios, NYC. www.courtneymmcclellan.com

Kevin Dang (Katherine) is a native of Dallas, TX. He has recently worked on the TV show Gotham and was in The Madness of Hercules at the New York Euripides Summer Festival as the Messenger. He is a proud member of the Asian-American activist community and is striving for equality and representation on stage and screen. Kevindang.space

Kitty Mortland (Ferdinand) is excited to be working with Bad Quarto for a second time, having previously played the Queen in Hamlet: The First Quarto. She recently played the title character in King Lear (What Dreams May Co), appeared in Measure for Measure (Hudson Warehouse), As You Like It (Folding Chair Classical Theatre), and repertory productions of Richard II and Romeo and Juliet (Hamlet Isn't Dead). Kitty also played the title character in Hamlet: The Series, available on YouTube. Originally from Chicago, she appeared there in Down & Derby (The New Colony), Devour (20% Theatre Chicago), and the Jeff Nominated The Bad Seed: The Musical (Corn Productions).  When not on stage, Kitty is also a singer/songwriter who played venues across the Chicagoland area including the Elbo Room, the Underground Lounge, and Reggie's Rock Club. DFTBA.

Marcella Pereda (Don Armado) is excited to be back at Bad Quarto after appearing as Ismenus in this season's Cupid's Revenge. Some of her recent credits include the world premier of Remington and Weasle (Kim Luna) at PYGmalion Productions, Peter Pan (Tiger Lily) at Utah Children's Theatre, The Skin of Our Teeth (Gladys) at the Grand Theatre, and A Few Good Men(Joanne Galloway u/s) at Pioneer Memorial Theatre. www.marcellapereda.com

Martin Goldberg (Nathaniel)  is a NYC native and graduate of Brooklyn College. He has attended classes at HB Studio, Penny Templeton Studios, and the Upright Citizens Brigade. Marty’s credits include the Love Creek Productions of Classy Shorts, An Evening with Le Wilhelm, Rubicon Crossed, and Masqurade Asylum, The Manhattan Repertory’s productions of Some Squeaking Cleopatra Boy, A Thousand Words, Exhume Yourself, and Tales of Terror (The Hand),  the AlphaNYC Production of Ceiling Art and And Then There Were None, and the Firebird Youth Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

Max Stein (Rosaline) Max has enjoyed living and acting in New York City for the last ten years. Before that he trained with the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, and attained a B.A. in Theatre at Wittenberg University. He has enjoyed working with companies including The Actor's Project and The Michael Chekov Theatre Company, and is currently a member of The Complete Theatre Company. Thanks for coming to see him do what he loves!




Melody Lam (Princess of France) is classically trained with a focus on Shakespeare and Anton Chekhov. She has studied at various studios across NYC including Stella Adler and Michael Howard. Credits include Lady Macbeth in Macbeth with Theater2020, Ariel in The Tempest and Dorine in Tartuffe. Film credits include Red Plastic Bag. Melody is a trained vocalist and contemporary dancer, and speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and French. 

Natasha Cole (Costard) is thrilled to make her Bad Quarto debut! She is proud ensemble member of Providence-based Out Loud Theatre and is a current cast member of the international tour of Kultar's Mime. She recently graduated Hofstra University with a BFA in Acting. 

Olivia Vessel (Moth) is excited to be performing with Bad Quarto Productions! Recent credits include Jeanie in Hair (Heights Players), Miss White in Clue: The Musical (West End Lounge), and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Salt Lake Shakespeare). You may have also seen her performing her original one woman show, Olivia's Corner, a satire about a children's show host teaching kids about adult themes, performed at various comedy clubs in NYC. www.youtube.com/c/oliviavessel

Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti (Dumainis a strategic, multidisciplinary performer and programming developer invested in honoring communities in the city with effective, creative policy and programming.  A New York City native, she values the intersection of education and history as foundation for building institutions. Elizabeth received a BA in Religion, with a concentration in Human Rights from Columbia University and graduated with a MA in Arts Politics from NYU-Tisch. She is the grant writer for The Public Theater. Many thanks and endless love to my partner, Alex Dabertin.

Rebekah Carrow (Boyet/Dull) is an actor and playwright in New York City. Her first play, Mary V, just finished its first run at Theater for the New City. She is an alumni of Atlantic Studio's Evening Conservatory program. She has performed throughout New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Virginia.   

Samantha Renèe Burkard (Maria/Jacquenetta) is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and has lived in New York for the past year, pursuing her passions for music, acting, and Shakespeare. Recently, she has been working with Titan Theatre Company as a Young Company member, which has expanded her love and knowledge of Shakespeare sevenfold. She is thrilled to be appearing for the first time with Bad Quarto Productions, and hopes you enjoy the show! 

Alex Dabertin (Director) is an artistic associate at Bad Quarto Productions. Alex was recently seen in Bad Quarto's productions of Cupid's Revenge as Leucippus, Hamlet: The First Quarto as Hamlet, and The Taming of a Shrew as Polidor. Alex directed Bad Quarto's Summer 2016 production of What, Lamb! What, Ladybird!, and assisted with direction of Bad Quarto’s Fall 2016 production of The Life and Death of Jack Straw