Shakespeare gets his groove on in 1970s version of ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’

Actors from the local ‘Bard in the Park’ theatre troupe perform their interpretation of Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” at Norwood Park on June 2. The two-night run was a preparation for performances this week at Kew Gardens, running until June 19. Shows take place at 7 p.m. until Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinée performances on Saturday and Sunday. Photo: Victor Biro

Bard in the Park’s 12th season is underway. The East End Shakespearean theatre group is performing Love’s Labour’s Lost with a twist: the plot has  been translated and transplanted into 1970s culture.

The comedy’s plot focuses on King Ferdinand and his entourage. He bans the company of women while studying and fasting for three years, but a group of women arrive, led by the princess of Aquitaine. Of course the arrival of the women upends life for the men, who proceed to offend the arriving party with their initial rude welcome.

The women proceed to “use the men’s affections to their advantage and playfully torment the men by engaging them in a philosophical and hilarious battle of wits,” according to Bard producer Melissa Beveridge.

Bard in the Park producer Melissa Beveridge said the idea was to use Shakespeare’s comedy to take a closer look at “gender roles and expectations, their relationships with each other and the opposite sex and the value of loyalty within love and friendship.”

Bard in the Park was founded by Beach actor, teacher, director, producer and 2011 citizen of the year Anne Butler, and taken over by local theatre lovers upon her retirement in 2011. The non-profit company is supported by Community Centre 55, and produces one Shakespeare play every year.

The play runs nightly in Kew Gardens at 7 p.m. now until Saturday, June 18, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19. Performances are free, but donations are welcome.

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