Jeffrey Painter, Jessica Weaver, Adam St. John and Kira Batcheller of Two Gents

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

Two decades after he last directed The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Scot Whitney of Harlequin Productions is at it again. This show, featuring costumes and sets that call to mind the art of Maxfield Parrish, runs through Oct. 16.

He has a new take on the early Shakespearean comedy about two friends who fall in love with the same woman.

Proteus (Adam St. John) is particularly fickle. Promised to Julia (Kira Batcheller), he falls in love with Silvia (Jessica Weaver) after he’s agreed to help best friend Valentine (Jeffrey Painter) woo her.

“The first time, I thought mostly it was Proteus who was a mess,” he said. “Now, I realize everybody’s a mess.

“It was funny,” he added. “Jessica was auditioning, and she said, ‘I just love Sylvia–she’s such a kook.’ I thought, ‘What do you mean? She’s one of the smart ones.’

“Then she did a couple of monologues, and I thought, ‘Wow, she is a kook,’ and I cast her.”

The most sensible of the characters are the fools: Speed (Andrew Bullard), the servant of Valentine, and Proteus’s man Launce (Jason Haws).

Launce and his dog, Crab, are also the source of the play’s broadest comedy. Crab gets into mischief and Launce remains loyal–in contrast to some of the gentry.

What: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Where: Harlequin Productions’ State Theater,
202 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 and Oct. 5-8, 13-15 and 20-22;
2 p.m. Oct. 2, 9 and 16

How much: $20-$34 (Oct. 5 is pay-what-you-can)

Buy tickets: 360-786-0151 | Harlequin Productions