Two Gentlemen Of Verona (The)

By William Shakespeare
June 1 2008
directed by Jane Page

Valentine departs for the court of Milan, leaving his childhood friend Proteus in Verona deeply in love with Julia. The couple's happiness is soon upset when Proteus' father Antonio orders him to the Milanese court where he will be attended by his servant Launce (and Launce's dog, Crab). Before they separate, Proteus and Julia exchange rings and vows of fidelity. In Milan, Valentine falls for the Duke's daughter Silvia who unfortunately is already betrothed to the wealthy Thurio. Silvia returns Valentine's affections, and the two lay secret plans to elope when Proteus arrives from Verona. Launce meets Speed, Valentine's page, and they discuss with Crab the virtues of maidens and the peculiar nature of dogs. Proteus, meanwhile, has been smitten with Silvia and plots to win her for himself. Revealing the planned elopement to the Duke, he forswears both Julia and Valentine. The Duke banishes Valentine who retreats to the forest where he encounters a band of outlaws that take him in as their leader. Pining for Proteus in Verona, Julia decides to disguise herself as Sebastian and travel to Milan. There she finds her supposed lover wooing Silvia. Taking Sebastian as his page, Proteus employs Julia in his deceit. Dreading Proteus and the impending marriage to Thurio, Silvia flees into the forest. Proteus and Sebastian follow and find her amidst Valentine's woodland bandits. In the mystery of the forest, the friends and lovers are forced to determine the value of faithfulness and forgiveness.

Date Time
Sunday June 1 12:00 am
Closed

Valentine departs for the court of Milan, leaving his childhood friend Proteus in Verona deeply in love with Julia. The couple's happiness is soon upset when Proteus' father Antonio orders him to the Milanese court where he will be attended by his servant Launce (and Launce's dog, Crab). Before they separate, Proteus and Julia exchange rings and vows of fidelity. In Milan, Valentine falls for the Duke's daughter Silvia who unfortunately is already betrothed to the wealthy Thurio. Silvia returns Valentine's affections, and the two lay secret plans to elope when Proteus arrives from Verona. Launce meets Speed, Valentine's page, and they discuss with Crab the virtues of maidens and the peculiar nature of dogs. Proteus, meanwhile, has been smitten with Silvia and plots to win her for himself. Revealing the planned elopement to the Duke, he forswears both Julia and Valentine. The Duke banishes Valentine who retreats to the forest where he encounters a band of outlaws that take him in as their leader. Pining for Proteus in Verona, Julia decides to disguise herself as Sebastian and travel to Milan. There she finds her supposed lover wooing Silvia. Taking Sebastian as his page, Proteus employs Julia in his deceit. Dreading Proteus and the impending marriage to Thurio, Silvia flees into the forest. Proteus and Sebastian follow and find her amidst Valentine's woodland bandits. In the mystery of the forest, the friends and lovers are forced to determine the value of faithfulness and forgiveness.

Love at first sight is a guiding principle in director Jane Page's production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The play opens in sedate Verona but audience members are soon transported to the alluring amusement park setting of Milan. Here, amidst thrilling rides and games of chance, characters fall for and away from each other. A band of putti, cherubic guardians, watch over all to safeguard love's power. Adding to the fun, the clownish Launce, his canine counterpart Crab, and his companion Speed revel in hilariously idiosyncratic notions of romance. To complement Page's celebratory concept, scene designer Bruce Bergner has constructed a veritable fun park. Above the heads of the lovers a roller coaster soars, echoing the erratic nature of their relationships. Balancing the physical thrill of the coaster are brilliant banners evoking the games of skill on the midway. Setting love in motion, an illuminated Ferris wheel rises in the center of the stage. While the action remains in Verona, costume designer Maureen Stevens creates a strong impression of propriety. Julia's simple skirt and blouse remind us that people in this environment do not indulge in revelry. Proteus and Valentine likewise don respectable suits. Once the two gentlemen arrive in Milan, the audience sees color and more color. The lovers are transformed in the park's free-for-all atmosphere but Launce and Speed seem more at home here than in Verona. Putti roam the set in wings and diapers reminding us that, for an evening at least, love reigns supreme.