This show spotlights some of Shakespeare’s greatest couples: Romeo & Juliet, Kate & Petruchio, Beatrice & Benedick, and more. Twists and turns abound in this story of love and whimsy, consisting entirely of Shakespeare’s actual text. The Fairies establish the world of the play. One Fairy has decided that love is foolish and “merely a madness,” but the other Fairies are determined to convince their friend otherwise. The characters display all facets of love; desperation, bliss, fear, passion and pure joy, in a collection of scenes that takes the audience on a unique journey. When all of the characters congregate in the final scene, the doubting Fairy understands that “the course of true love never did run smooth,” but it’s more than worth the risk. This easy-to-produce play is a perfect introduction to Shakespeare for all ages and a delightful evening for those familiar and unfamiliar with the Bard. Approximate running time: 45 minutes.
PLAYWRIGHT JENNIFER STEWART-SAMPSON TALKS ABOUT HER PLAY THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS SHOW?
A: After being asked by The Bakersfield Museum of Art to produce a sampling of Shakespeare’s works, I set out to create a story starring Shakespeare’s greatest lovers, flanked by several fairies who lead us through the joys and pitfalls of love and ultimately help us to answer the question, “is love worth the risk?”
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: I’m really happy with the transitions and how seamlessly we move from Helena & Demetrius to Romeo & Juliet to Beatrice & Benedick and several other lovers. I enjoy that the play constantly moves forward with high stakes, humor and surprising twists.
Q: WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART IN CREATING THIS ADAPTATION?
A: The challenges in this piece were many and varied. I was devoted to using only Shakespeare’s text but equally devoted to telling a new story. I vowed to not be gimmicky or cute and to make sure the audience went on an emotional journey.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: My goal was to create a new story using only Shakespeare’s words; to engaged and delight audiences familiar and unfamiliar with the Bard and to take the audience on a meaningful journey through the various aspects of love. I also wanted the script to have very little technical requirements. The young fairies become Juliet’s balcony, Audrey’s goats, and a theatre curtain, among other things, to create the world of the play. The staging is theatrical, imaginative and can be low budget.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: I enjoy theatre that celebrates the complexities of the human experience through simplicity. You don’t need an expensive set, dramatic lights and sound to create a moving experience. You need a great story, a director with a clear vision and actors who put their guts into the playing of the characters. I wanted this play to stand on its own. The play requires nothing but a love of Shakespeare, imaginative actors and a willingness to play.