"The Two Gentlemen of Verona" by William Shakespeare will be performed May 9-11 and 16-18 at 8 p.m. in the Linfield Pioneer Theatre. Tickets are $4 for students, faculty and staff and $5 for the general public. Tickets can be reserved by calling 503-883-2292 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The comedy centers around Proteus and Valentine, two friends who sort through the fickleness of love. Proteus, in love with Julia, is sent by his mother to the Duke of Milan's court to join Valentine. Once there, Proteus falls for Valentine's secret betrothed, the Duke's daughter Silvia, whom he pursues despite her faithfulness to Valentine. Proteus betrays his friend and abandons Julia, who pursues him in male disguise.
The play remains true to the original Shakespeare script, with a few adaptations by director Janet Gupton, assistant professor of theatre arts at Linfield. She set the play in the present-day TV and film star world of Hollywood, Calif. The story addresses issues of love and friendship, and its themes and concerns are the same ones young people still face today.
"'Two Gents' is still relevant today in terms of the subject matter and can be accessible to all ages," Gupton said. "This play is all about young people and that's one reason I chose to set it in the 'here and now.' Our students are playing roles very close to their own ages."
In addition to setting the play in modern times, Gupton incorporated contemporary music and audience participation into the production. The play opens with a graduation party and spectators are invited to come on stage to dance as they enter the theatre, Gupton said.
The play will feature guest artist Ted DeChatelet, a professional actor and adjunct faculty member at Linfield, as the Duke of Milan. Gupton's dog, Chrissy, also plays a role in the performance.
"As is typical of a Shakespeare comedy, the play resolves itself quickly and in a happy way where everyone ends up with the right lover in the end," Gupton said.