Shakespeare goes green

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Every time I attend the Utah Shakespeare Festival with my daughter Lizabeth we spend our evenings attending something called the Greenshow — which takes place Monday through Saturday before evening performances in the Adams Memorial Theatre.

The Greenshow has its own lovely stage surrounded by sprawling lawns that attract tourists and locals for performances that include song, dance, live violin music, jokes and more. Even Greenshow trivia with young volunteers (it was Alexis from Utah when we attended Friday night).

Friday’s Greenshow featured entertainment with an Italian theme. After I ordered my iced latte from a charming snack bar dubbed the Sweet Shop, the barrista ala Bard sent me back to the lawn for a bit of opera music sung by talented Greenshow performers, mostly students studying theater and music at Southern Utah University.

Saturday night’s Greenshow had a 50th anniversary theme and, in a rare appearance, Queen Elizabeth of Shakespeare’s day (or her modern-day double) opened the show. Earlier in the day we celebrated at a “Bard’s Beach Bash” event before taking in a patriotic production of “The Music Man.”

The musical inspired a 20-something man seated behind us to exclaim “I love America!” as the show ended with a flurry of red, white and blue confetti.

Saturday night we saw “Richard III” in the outdoor Adams Memorial Theatre, enjoying the light rain that fell during a portion of the performance. After the show we overheard two elementary-age boys raving to their parents about loving the whole show, not just the scenes featuring ghosts and sword fights.

This production of “Richard III” felt more cerebral than the gut-wrenching production we saw Southwest Shakespeare Company perform in Mesa last season. We love seeing the same works in multiple venues.

While at the festival, we also enjoyed all sorts of green gardens, including a Shakespeare Garden near the Randall L. Jones Theatre that has statues of Shakespeare characters King Lear, Juliet and Falstaff — plus lots of plants I often buy in Arizona but never succeed in keeping alive in the heat. I always find myself with a serious case of garden envy in Cedar City.

I suppose there’s another sort of green that I should mention here — the kind that’s needed for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s capital campaign. Those of you who can’t make it to festival offerings this year but want to support the creation of a new Shakespearean Theatre can click here to learn about ways to get involved.

— Lynn

Coming up: Spotlight on the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s youngest actors, Southwest Shakespeare Company’s 2011-12 season

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