By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant
Scott Kaiser, playwright and director of “Love’s Labor’s Won”, envisioned a sequel to a comedic “Love’s Labor’s Lost” that picks up from its dark ending and sets it in a post-World War I environment. The play is written in verse which adds to its intensity.
The characters in this imagined sequel have all been changed because of the war and are trying to piece together lives with lovers/suitors that were interrupted or changed because of the conflict.
Ferdinand (Christoper Essex), Isabelle (Kennedy McMann), Dumaine (Chase Del Rey), Katherine (Myha’la Herrold), Berowne (Christian Strange), Rosaline (Aubyn Heglie), Longaville (Kyle Decker), Maria (Eleanor Pearson), Costard (Jordan Plutzer) and Jacquenetta (Rayquila Durham) are the couples impacted by the conflict and its ramifications for their country and their future. The war has changed them. But will they be able to rekindle the relationships they enjoyed previously and overcome the impact war has had on all of them?
Did William Shakespeare write “Love’s Labor’s Won” as a sequel to “Love’s Labor’s Lost”? No physical copy of the play exists, just the title. Some pundits think that perhaps the play was simply renamed and performed under another name, but it may be much ado about nothing.
The actors’ performances in :”Love’s Labor Won” are strong and well-balanced with Plutzer providing comedy relief. Durham touches our souls with her singing.
The set is stunning. Out of proportion-covered and partially covered portraits hang in the background above a central staircase, indicating that this grand home was also prepared for war. When actors seamlessly segued to two garden benches, two pillars and/or a statue (also protectively wrapped), the action occurs outdoors.
Kaiser’s erudite work moves us forward many centuries, bringing the characters introduced in Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost” into the 20th century, finishing a journey that ended long, long ago.
There’s much to love about “Love’s Labor’s Won.” It’s a winner!
“Love’s Labor’s Won” runs from November 28 to December 2 at the Purnell Center for the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213. For more information click here.