By: Nina Campli, Assistant Editor of Student Life and Arts
Looking for something to do this weekend? Go see Shakespeare in Love at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. There are five remaining shows before the productions close this Sunday. Student rush tickets can be purchased with a student ID for $25 cash or $28 with card a half an hour before show time.
The play is all about Shakespeare’s process of writing one of his most famed tragedies, Romeo and Juliet. While Shakespeare in Love is a comedy, there are many dramatic parts just as in Shakespeare’s own plays. Stefanie Defronzo (‘20) said, “The Shakespeare Theatre never disappoints. Shakespeare in Love was a beautiful, comedically tragic masterpiece.”
Although the play was about Shakespeare, his character, played by Jon Barker, was altogether unmemorable. This is not to discredit Barker as an actor, nor to discredit the writers. However, his character as whole paled in comparison to other characters.
Leading lady Viola de Lesseps, played by Whitney Maris Brown, did a stunning job. During parts of the play Viola was disguised as a man because she wanted to be an actor. This involved several quick costume changes. However, Brown handled them all with finesse and entered the stage with not even a hair out of place. Erika Rolfsrud, who played Queen Elizabeth and Viola’s nurse, also gave a memorable performance. Both her characters provided a significant amount of the comedy in the production. She had perfect timing on all of her quips and overall did an excellent job balancing the two vastly different roles.
Dublin Delancy McFinnigan, who played Spot, was a crowd favorite, mainly because he is a dog. The little Boston Terrier spent a total of two minutes on the stage but gave an excellent performance nonetheless. McFinnigan was given a headshot and a small biography in the Playbill along with the rest of the of the cast. Defronzo adds, “The dog was a shining treasure.”
The set for the production was simple and practical but still lovely. It had two levels with multiple places to enter the stage. This made the stage look bigger than it was.
The costumes were stunning. Kit Marlowe’s only costume was one of the most intricate. The beautiful texture could be seen from the audience. Viola’s dresses were something out of a dream. Each one was intricately detailed and looked as if it were made of the best materials. Perhaps the most bizarre article of clothing was Queen Elizabeth’s full hoop skirt, which Rolfsrud somehow managed to sit down in.
The music, which was mostly Irish folk music, was well chosen and set the mood for the production. The cast also sang at some points in the play, and although it was not a musical, their voices were good overall. In general, the sound was well done. However, there were a few times where it was difficult to hear some members of the cast.
Can’t make it to see Shakespeare in Love? It’s a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play opens on November 30.