On Stage

Bard Blowout

Shakespeare’s greatest hits

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

According to a slew of recent press releases in my email inbox, William Shakespeare is currently what’s trending—making it clear that despite the fact that the playwright died 400 years ago, his popularity shows no sign of waning.

Kicking off Shakespeare’s greatest hits is Western Washington University’s production of As You Like It June 1-4 at the school’s Performing Arts Center. The classic romantic comedy follows a young woman named Rosalind whose forced exile from her comfortable life leads her on a cross-dressing adventure that won’t end until she’s found the love of her life. Described as having “more twists and turns than Chuckanut Drive,” the production also features a live band. Methinks the Bard would approve. When: 7:30pm June 1-3; 2pm and 7:30pm Sat., June 4. Where: PAC Mainstage Cost: $10-$17 Info: http://www.tickets.wwu.edu

Hot on the heels of WWU’s offering is the perennially lauded Bard on the Beach, which each year presents a quartet of Willie’s works from early June through late September at the picturesque Vanier Park in Vancouver, BC. This year’s bard blowout kicks off with the classic romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, and continues with showings of the comedic tale known as The Merry Wives of Windsor, the power plays of Othello, and the pagan tale of Pericles. Along with the productions highlighted during the 27th annual season, the nonprofit also boasts an ever-expanding roster of educational programs and community outreach throughout the year. When: June 3-Sept. 24 Where: Vanier Park Cost: $20-$47 Info: http://www.bardonthebeach.org

Beginning Thurs., June 9, Bellingham’s iDiOM Theater will end its epic 14-year run at its current locale on Cornwall Avenue with an epic production—Shakespeare’s tragic Hamlet. The abridged version of the Bard’s masterwork directed by Stone Town Theatre Works’ Heather Dyer cuts the running time to about two-and-a-half hours (instead of the typical four), and focuses more on the emotional conflicts and relationships in the story, and less on the international political machinations between Denmark and Norway. Unlike the title character of the play, iDiOM won’t stay dead for long; later this summer, it’ll be reborn in the form of the Sylvia Center for the Arts. When: 7:30pm June 9-11, 16-18 and 23-25 Where: 1418 Cornwall Ave. Cost: $12-$15 Info: http://www.idiomtheater.com

Finally, as part of Mount Vernon’s Mayor’s Wellness Challenge, Shakespeare Northwest will present a sneak peek of their summer touring production of Shakespeare’s Wonderland: An Elizabethan View through the Looking Glass Sat., June 11 at the city’s Bakerview Park. In the original play—which is described as being a mashup of works by Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll—Hamlet is also the Mad Hatter, and Lady MacBeth is the March Hare (among other cross-cast characters). Starting in July, the company also presents Cymbeline and The Merchant of Vegas at the Rexville Grange Amphitheater. When & Where: 6:30pm Sat., June 11 at Bakerview Park and 1pm Sun., June 12 at the Fairhaven Village Green Cost: Free Info: http://www.shakesnw.org

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