Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012

Shadows of Theatre Fatigue In Spring Green

A lovely show that I failed to enjoy completely with the American Player’s Theatre

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Tracy Michelle Arnold in Shakespeare's Will

Spring Green is as charming as ever in late summer. My wife and I find ourselves here again after a one year absence. Our first evening of the weekend is an indoor show—Shakespeare’s Will. Going to the American Player’s Theatre to see a show indoors feels kind of strange, but it doesn’t take long for us to settle into the show. The show in question is directed by Brenda DeVita . . . who happened to be in the audience on a sold-out opening night performance that was exceedingly well-received.

Tracy Michelle Arnold plays Anne Hathaway in a one woman show. (That’s Anne Hathaway Shakespeare’s wife not Anne Hathaway from Hollywood.) It’s a very sad story that’s been rendered for the stage by playwright Vern Thiessen. Arnold does a good job with it. Opening night she got a standing ovation. My wife was in tears by the end of it. Very moving . . . but I guess I’ve got a kind of fatigue in a typical August. The month opens with Milwaukee Comedy Fest . . . and by the end of the festival I’m kind of annoyed with comedy. Anyone attempting it comes across like a jerk. Just stop it already. It’s not cute anymore. I also took in a couple of dramas earlier this month (I’m about a dozen shows into the month already.)

The reasonably intimate drama in APT’s cozy Touchstone Theatre is nice and everything, but it doesn’t have the staggeringly close proximity that Fools For Tragedy’s Medea does in Milwaukee. It’s strange, because Arnold is doing a really, really good job here, but I just saw Amber Smith agonizing over killing her children. Dealing with loneliness and lack of connection in the shadow of a legendary author doesn’t feel quite as intense in comparison. Tracy Michelle Arnold gets a standing ovation. I’m not really there for it. There’s karaoke at The Shed later that night. Moved by the overall theme of marital distance in the show, my wife and I opt to spend some time together in our hotel room with some Lake Louis beer.

Tomorrow night: Shakespeare’s work Up The Hill outdoors with the APT.

The American Players Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Will runs through October 21st at the Touchstone Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin. For ticket reservations, call 608-588-2361. A concise and hopefully comprehensive review of the show runs in the next Shepherd-Express.

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