Not all is lost

Love’s Labour’s Lost

“Celibate, huh?”

“Celibate, huh?”

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival

Love’s Labour’s Lost; 8 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Sunday; $15-$18. Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, William A. Carroll Amphitheatre in William Land Park; Through July 30.
Rated 4.0

It’s officially summer in the city and that means it’s time for Shakespeare in the park—the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival in William Land Park, to be exact.

This is the 31st annual program to be produced in the park by the City Theatre at Sacramento City College.

The ambiance, the open air, the bread and wine—and Shakespeare to boot—make the festival one of summer’s must-attend events.

The first of this year’s two plays is Love’s Labour’s Lost, one of Shakespeare’s earlier comedies and one of his trickier plays linguistically. There are rhymes and wordplay that are not only demanding in pace, but require the actor’s understanding.

Director Luther Hanson sets the play in an Ivy League school where the King of Navarre (Jonathan Plon) and a trio of friends swear to isolate themselves from the world and study and remain celibate for three years. How do you think that works out? The minute the Princess of France (Shenadoah Kehoe) arrives with her lovely entourage, the vows go out the window and the scheming begins.

Identities are mistaken, letters are misdelivered and then a trio of “Russians” turns up and begins the unraveling. Ryan Canfield as Berowne and Christi van Eyken as Rosaline are standouts among the large cast.