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Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare
These are barren tasks, too hard to keep,
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep!
Four gentlemen, one of them a king, make a solemn oath: for three years, they will abjure the company of women, reserving their minds, hearts, and energies for study, reflection, and self-improvement. But don’t worry—that’s just scene one. Soon a French princess and her three ladies-in-waiting swoop in, and the countdown to oath-breaking begins. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t take long.
One of Shakespeare’s most sparkling comedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost bubbles with wit and originality. The plot concerns itself with the making—and, of course, the breaking—of the gentlemen’s resolution. Then again, plot is somewhat of an afterthought. Unlike many of Shakespeare’s works, the play is completely original, with no history to cover or story to adapt. This allows the playwright’s gift for language to take center stage, most of it written in an effortless verse. But despite these many charms of Love’s Labour’s Lost, it remains one of The Bard’s least produced comedies, making each staging an event unto itself. The Hilberry Theatre’s production coincides with the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death and The Folger Library’s First Folio Tour: The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, on display at Wayne State University, Detroit Public Library, and Detroit Institute of Arts.
The country's first professional repertory company comprised entirely of graduate students, Hilberry Theatre's ensemble is its greatest resource. Since each member is an actor or designer who attended Wayne State's theatre program, they're able to work together to produce six classic and contemporary plays every year—from Shakespeare to David Ives—on the Hilberry's historic stage.