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Steampunk spin on Shakespeare classic

March 24, 2016

DILLON NELSON

Staff Reporter | djn005@latech.edu

The upcoming Louisiana Tech adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” started production on Monday, March 14 with closed auditions held at the Stone Theatre.

“Love’s Labor Lost” is a comedy about a king and three companions who swear off women while studying and fasting for three years.

Director Paul Crook said,  “It’s an obscure Shakespeare play that could be successful with a modern update.”

Crook plans on doing the play in the style of steampunk, a futuristic subgenre of science fiction and fantasy, and hopes Tech’s adaptation will be a break from Tech’s previous, typically straight-forward adaptations of the bard.

“It fits really well. This is probably one of the most verbally intricate of Shakespeare’s plays and there is a lot of linguistic dexterity,” said Crook.

Crook wants the intricacies of the steampunk aesthetic to match the pompous style of the language in the play, adding this approach to the source material of the play should resonate with students, allowing them to appreciate Shakespeare’s writing.

“It’s going to be, certainly in terms of aesthetics, very similar to movies and literature in the steampunk style,” Crook said. “It will serve as a kind of entry point.”

Even if the play is made familiar for the audience, Crook said that he hopes his cast and crew will enjoy the challenge of working such a subversive adaptation.

“For theater design students in particular, working with props and costumes in a steampunk style will be a wonderful experience,” Crook said. “They are really going to grow and learn and vastly improve their design skills.”

Liam McIntyre, an auditioning sophomore theater major, is a professed Shakespeare fan. He was very excited about the possibility of acting in one of his plays.

“Shakespeare is one of my favorite playwrights of all time,” McIntyre said. “I love his language, and I love the opportunity, especially so close to the 400th anniversary of his death.”

McIntyre talked about how he enjoys the open-ended nature of putting on a Shakespeare production.

“I love how it’s adaptable to anything,” McIntyre said. “You could make it a hillbilly show, a Hollywood show. It doesn’t matter,” he said.

McIntyre claims that the key to a good Shakespeare adaptation is for there to be plenty of risks taken.

“I’m excited for seeing the steampunk style on this particular play. It’s just so far-fetched that it has to work,” said McIntyre.

“Building it is going to be a lot of fun,” said McIntyre, who also works in the stage department. “We are having fun getting props ready, painting nerf guns to look like real guns.”

Aadrise Johnson will be serving as production stage manager for “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” She said, “A lot of people, when they think of Shakespeare, think of him as just that dude from English class, but I hope the style of the play will show the real madness there is to a production like this.”

Louisiana Tech’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” will run at the Stone Theatre April 26 through May 1.

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