No sex please, we’re bookish

Nicholas Martin tackles Love’s Labour’s Lost
By IRIS FANGER  |  May 3, 2006


Love’s Labour’s Lost

A not so funny thing happened on the way to the Huntington Theatre Company’s planned run of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum : the lead actor accepted a part in a Broadway show. With barely a grimace, Huntington artistic director Nicholas Martin wished him well, dropped the musical from the May slot, and replaced it with William Shakespeare’s seldom-produced early comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost , which opens next Friday. “It came to me in a flash. I wanted something in the same spirit as Forum and with a young cast.”

Martin has directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth for other theaters, but LLL will be his first Shakespeare production at the Huntington and his first staging of the work — though the former actor remembers playing the King of Navarre in a college production at the age of 19 (“most unfortunate,” he murmurs) and a later appearance as Moth at San Diego’s Old Globe. “I chose the play because it’s not so familiar. This play was written by a young man, with a young man’s ardor.”

What’s more, he’s set the production around 1910 because he thinks the pre–World War I period “was the last time we were at any kind of peace. We are determining a very American world, when the music was ragtime. There was a lot of dancing, a kind of youthful energy that the new century brought with it.” Martin has upped the music quotient, adding to the songs in the script a 1910 ditty for actor Will LeBow titled “The Spaniard Who Blighted My Life.” LeBow will play Don Adriano de Armado, a pompous Spanish braggart.

LLL turns on a wisp of a plot about the King of Navarre and a retinue of friends who decide to devote their lives to learning, avoiding any dalliance with wine or (particularly) women. “They’re a bunch of guys who went to college together, including the King, but they’ve been out long enough to have had disastrous affairs. Like guys will sometimes do, they think, ‘We’ll just take a vacation from relationships.’ ” Of course, when the Princess of France arrives with her attractive ladies-in-waiting, the vows go out the window. Especially for the King’s best buddy, courtier Berowne, who wasn’t that keen on the all-study/no-women proposal to start with. “Berowne never shuts up. Unless the actor has real charm and exuberance, he can be tiresome.”

That won’t be the case, Martin believes, with Noah Bean, a 2000 Boston University School of Theatre graduate. The director remembered seeing Bean play George in Our Town his senior year and then saw him again last fall in Los Angeles, where the hunky actor was starring in a production of David Mamet’s Romance . And Bean understands the boys-are-from-Mars, girls-are-from-Venus disconnect between the sexes. “It’s so funny,” he says of the interaction in the play. “We’re hardly ever together with the girls, but when we do talk with them, it ends badly.”

LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST | Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave, Boston | May 12–June 11 | $15-$70 | 617.266.0800 or www.huntington.org  

Related: Best on the boards, Best on the boards, The best on the boards, More more >
  Topics: Theater , Politics, Political Parties, Celebrity News,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY IRIS FANGER
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BODY POLITIC  |  September 02, 2008
    Anna Deavere Smith is a writer/actor/activist who listens.
  •   KOSHER COMIC  |  December 10, 2007
    Judy Gold sashays into a press conference with a white apron over her jeans and a tray of rugelach in her hand.
  •   CHRISTMAS IN CROATIA  |  December 09, 2007
    “If there are 1100 people in the audience,” Swanson reminds me, “around 600-700 of them will dance out into the Sanders lobby at intermission.”
  •   AFTER GODOT  |  November 06, 2007
    It’s fitting that Alvin Epstein should be cast in Beckett at 100 , since the venerable actor has been associated with the Nobel laureate’s plays for more than 50 years.
  •   THEATER OF WAR  |  October 31, 2007
    Director Scott Ellis doesn’t call David Rabe’s Streamers a play about war.

 See all articles by: IRIS FANGER