You’ll love Little Theater’s Love’s Labour’s Lost

By Janelle Harb
Features Layout Editor

The Canisius College Little Theatre is known for putting on four spectacular shows a year, these being a musical, two contemporary plays, and a Shakespeare play.  This year is no different as their theatre season begins with the Shakespearean comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost.  As one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, Love’s Labour’s Lost  was chosen because of its comedic nature that Little Theatre felt that the student body would most enjoy seeing.

 “The King of Navarre has enlisted three of his friends in a pledge to stay in his court for three years–fasting, sleeping little, and most importantly, to not see or talk to women in that time,” Eileen Dugan, the director, stated, “of course, almost immediately after the pledge is signed, the Princess of France arrives in court with three lovely ladies, and then the men are smitten. So begins the secret love letters, the disguised visits, the confessions of defeat.”

Dugan summarized, “Love’s Labour’s Lost is a charming comedy, peopled with characters who love wordplay and witty exchanges. But they also hide their real feelings behind the jokes, and in the course of the play, find they have to speak plainly, or risk losing what they really want.  The play ends with an unexpected turn, leaving the audience to hope that in time, all will be well.” As one could expect in a Shakespearean comedy, the story spirals into a hilarious series of mishaps and mistaken identities.

After the audition process, the cast jumps immediately into rehearsals.  “We start with a read through, each act or each scene is called and we go through the lines so everyone understands them and their intentions.  Then we put it on its feet and start blocking.” Callie Keavey said, who plays Boyet, the ladies’ chaperone.  “Eileen always pre-blocks everything with paper dolls.” Keavey continued, “It takes a lot of effort outside of the rehearsals too.  With learning the character’s intentions, and learning your lines, of course.”

“Rehearsals are fun because there’s so much camaraderie, it’s fun as a bonding experience.” Katie Gaisser stated, who plays Katharine, one of the ladies. “Coming into the ending weeks we’re gonna bond a lot because we’ll be together for hours straight.” Dugan continued, “The cast has been working hard, juggling busy schedules, and I’m delighted to say the show is coming together, and should be ready to go on opening night.”  The cast will rehearse for hours on end coming into the week leading up to the show with early starts and late nights.

“Rehearsals are an absolute blast as we have both new members and some alumni (Al Runkel, Matt Giangreco, and Albert Falcone) to bring that sense of old and new community for Little Theatre,” Conor Shea, who plays Don Armado stated. “It makes me ecstatic to come to rehearsal every day to see everyone bring their little part to the group dynamic!”

They rehearse most days of the week, followed by “techs” to work on the set pieces that they build themselves.  “Tech-wise, the set is taking place in the middle of a park, but my favorite part has to be just helping out with tech!” Shea explained, “as the Tech Director for the show, I am more than satisfied with what the cast has come together to achieve these past few weeks, and while we aren’t quite there yet, I have no doubt we will get there!”  The set will consist of many arches, as well as, greenery and a fountain.

In addition to building and painting the sets, the tech crew, as well as some cast members, have to focus on other aspects of the show like costumes and lighting.  “I go up on a twenty foot ladder to hang up the lights, and make sure I don’t drop them,” Gaisser explained, “then I focus them on the stage and adjust them so they hit the right spot.”

 In order for the lights to follow a sequence during the show, the crew must program the lights by hand.  “We have a board up in the perch, and we go through a set of commands to program the lights in a certain order,” Gaisser continued,  “we have to do it when the theater is empty so we don’t distract anyone rehearsing, or if they’re using power tools while building.”

In an effort to make Shakespeare more approachable to the modern audience, Dugan explained, “I love to direct Shakespeare, and the aim is always clarity—it makes me sad when people say they don’t like Shakespeare, or don’t “get it”.” Dugan continued, “Love’s Labour’s Lost has many jokes that no longer play to a modern audience, and I have edited the play considerable to limit confusion, but the most important thing is to make sure the actors understand every word they say—and if they do, the audience will too.”

Despite their low budgets, Little Theatre never fails to produce spectacular shows, and this season will surely not disappoint.  As the oldest club on campus, they work hard to maintain their hard-earned reputation.  

“It is an absolute honor to be apart of my ninth show with Little Theatre and have it begin our season with a bang. I highly recommend everyone and their mothers to come see hilarious hijinks ensue for love and confusion!”  Shea stated.

 The show is running from October 22nd-30th at 8 p.m., and October 31st at 2 p.m.  The show is at the Marie Maday Theatre in Lyons Hall, and admission is free.  For ticket reservations call 716-888-7824 or email Little Theatre at ltclub@canisius.edu.

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