‘Shakespeare in Love’ filled with comedy, romance


“Shakespeare in Love” is set during the time period when Shakespeare wrote his famous play “Romeo and Juliet.” The Theatre Arts and Dance Department brought in a fight coordinator to help actors with their fight scenes.

Ashley Cope, Reporter

Comedy, romance and adventure will be performed on stage this semester with California Lutheran University’s theatre department  presenting “Shakespeare in Love,” a drama about young William Shakespeare during his writing and directing of “Romeo and Juliet.”

This play is based on the 1998 Academy Award-winning movie of the same name, which was adapted into a stage version in 2010, and since then has taken on worldwide productions.

Director Michael Arndt said the production has been in rehearsal since the beginning of the semester.

“The play includes dance numbers, so we have had to choreograph dance numbers. We’ve had a fight choreographer, so there is fight scenes and stage combat in the show. We brought  in a intimacy coordinator to work with the love scenes, and it’s  a play filled with comedy, filled with romance and filled with adventure and it all happens in a theatrical format,” Arndt said.

Arndt is also the artist director and founder of the Kingsman Shakespeare Company, which puts on the Kingsman Shakespeare Festival  in Kingsman park every summer, hosting about 8,000 people each year. Arndt holds a strong interest in Shakespeare and picked “Shakespeare in Love” for its unique approach to the playwright.

“It’s an imagined biography of Shakespeare’s  life but it also includes scenes from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as its imagined that he is writing it at the time. It also includes a lot of famous characters from Shakespeare’s  life and a lot of famous lines from other plays that he wrote,” Arndt said.

This cast includes 23 people and a dog, with William Shakespeare being played by Kiki Ragland and Shakespeare’s love interest, Viola Kent, being played by Lia Tracey.

“My favorite part, I have some really fun scenes with another actor, Christian, our characters  balance each other a lot, and it is like a very argumentative  relationship on the stage, it’s  a really fun and interesting dynamic,” Joshua Logue, who plays Fennyman, said.

In the play, Fennyman is the owner of the Rose Theatre, which Shakespeare wants to use to put on his play “Romeo and Juliet.”

“It doesn’t really feel like I’m acting, it just feels like I am having fun with my friends on stage and that’s something I look forward to,” Logue said.

Outside of rehearsals, great detail has gone into into costume making with Chair of the Theatre Arts and Dance Department Noelle Raffy-Porter, who designed pieces for the actors.

“We are sorta mixing Elizabethian with a bit modern twist, so we got a mix of pieces in there like slightly more modern shoes, some high fashion inspiration like from couture. We got some corsets in there that aren’t exactly period accurate but it’s more of a blending of styles, and keeping still with the Shakespearean look,” Raffy-Porter said.

Raffy-Porter has previously worked on the set of “Shakespeare and Love” as the costume designer at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

“I’ve worked with a lot of large cast before but this one is tricky  because the actors are, for the most part, on stage consistently, and for the most part don’t leave very often to go change, so it does make it a bit of a challenge. They also play so many different characters and they need to be distinguishable between those characters,” Raffy-Porter said.

“Shakespeare in Love” will be performed at the Blackbox Studio Theatre on Nov. 10-12 and 17-19 at 8 p.m., followed by Nov. 20 at 2 p.m.