by: Melody Parker

The Venue

The Festival Glen, the outdoor amphitheater alone makes this play worth seeing. The 8 PM show allows for a beautiful transformation from day to night characteristic of these summer months. I was surrounded by magical giants, redwoods that seemed to protect from harm as well as weather.  The pine scent in the forest grove felt a million miles from the bustle of downtown Santa Cruz.  Where else can you lay on a blanket, sip wine from the bottle, and watch a live performance under the stars? This decadent, romantic setting seems to push the limits of legality, but it remains perfectly legal.

newLLLThe Play

I wanted to see how much of the play I would understand without knowing a stitch of background or going cold as some say. I was lost at points in the first act, so I recommend reading a detailed synopsis of the play before seeing the show or if time allows, the entire play. It wasn’t until the second act that everything suddenly fell into place and even nuanced details of the play made perfect sense. Here is a quick description from the Shakespeare Santa Cruz website:

“King Ferdinand, of Navarre, decrees that he and his three lusty, young, noble lords shall forswear the distraction of women and devote themselves to intellectual studies. Not surprisingly, their reluctant scholarly pursuits are all but shattered upon the arrival of the Princess of France and her entourage of lovely, nubile women, with whom the lovesick men immediately fall in love.”

Shakespeare Santa Cruz lives up to its reputation by attracting remarkable actors. Lady Rosaline, played by Dana Green, was luminescent and present throughout the production.

Wordplay is rampant throughout as well. The only criticism to the play, is that it has the ability to alienate the uneducated by the complex use of the English language, but this is a consequence of most Shakespeare plays.

The borrowed elements of Santa Cruz culture for use as characters was a brilliant idea. The end was perfectly executed with a song, sung by Shashona Brooks playing Jaquenetta, who has the voice of an angel. Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s Love’s Labor’s Lost; another success!

Shakespeare Santa Cruz
UCSC Performing Arts
(831) 459-2121
Festival Glen
Adult tickets $30-$49
Youth Tickets  $14
Parking $3