Shakespeare in Hollywood (and at OLT)

by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS

Imagine you’re on the set of a Hollywood movie made in 1934, with big-name stars filming A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and magically the real Oberon and Puck from the Shakespeare play show up on the set. If such a thing could happen, it would be a recipe for comedy…or insanity. And that’s what’s coming to Olympia Little Theatre in May, when OLT presents Shakespeare in Hollywood by Ken Ludwig, writer of such hit plays as The Game’s Afoot, Lend Me a Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo. Kendra Malm directs this 2004 Helen Hayes Award winner for best new play.

“Let us take you to a magical place, where dreams come true, the boy gets the girl, and the villain gets his comeuppance,” Malm wrote in an OLT announcement. The play is a farce about the filming of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as directed by German film director Max Reinhardt (not yet cast at press time). Everything goes awry. Reinhardt has to deal with a studio head whose girlfriend wants to be a star, nosy gossip columnist Louella Parsons (Rhoni Lozier), and movie stars both real—Joe E. Brown (Conner Nuckols), Jimmy Cagney (Alex Hume), Dick Powell (Paul Wertz)—and imagined—Olivia Darnell (Maria Densley), Lydia Lansing (Jenni Fleming). The actors playing Oberon and Puck quit, and then the real Oberon and Puck appear to play themselves (Dan Overton and Orit Werner, respectively).

There will be staged combat, which Malm characterizes as “more in the way of wrestling and fisticuffs; no weapons involved.” There will also be “fairly elaborate costumes” by Diana Purvine and cross-dressing “when Joe E. Brown is fitted for his costume as Francis Flute, playing Thisbe in the play within a play.” Malm says Ludwig is a “reliable author…He always has comedies that are tightly plotted and fun to watch. This one isn’t as farcical as many, but the fantasy elements make up for that, especially when a certain flower starts getting passed around.”

What: Shakespeare in Hollywood

Where: Olympia Little Theatre,
1925 Miller Ave. E, Olympia

When: 7:25 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays,
1:55 p.m. Sunday, May 5-21

How much: $11-$15

Learn more: 360-786-9484 | OLT

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