It sounds like some sort of video game, but I'm actually referring to Love's Labor's Lost. I finally went and saw it Thursday night after my ASL class, and... I'm not sure how I feel about it. It left me feeling very conflicted. Not because of the actual play itself--it's plot is very light and fluffy compared to other Shakespeare stuff I've seen and/or been in--but because of the production. I suppose I'll meditate a bit on some of the good I found, as well as some of the bad.
The Good: Definitely the actors. I know a bunch of people were saying in class that they weren't all that impressed with the character definition, but from an actor's standpoint, I can almost positively say that the 'vagueness' of their personalities was probably a purposeful move. There are hundreds of different methods for developing a character's 'taste' and backstory, the one unique element that you are almost certain to see change in each adaptation. I rather enjoyed having the female characters remain indistinct from one another, because it seemed to ring true to what Shakespeare himself was going through. LX3 was one of his first works, and, if my experience as a writer is anywhere similar to his, he was probably still developing his style--INCLUDING his skills as an amazing craftsman of complex characters.
The Bad: The Setting. BYU's choice didn't seem to fit the play whatsoever. Wear long-johns and cowgirl dresses work for Taming of the Shrew and elegant 1920s ensembles fit in beautifully with Romeo and Juliet, LX3 did NOT look good with the 'update' it received. The set itself almost seemed cumbersome, which--even if it was an artistic choice--is never a good environment for an actor to be working in. I can only imagine the troubles they had to face going through.
So in the end, I walked out content and distraught all at once. I am used to high-quality productions from BYU, even in the student-directed performances. Yet LX3 had so many holes and problems within it I had a hard time reminiscing in the excellent acting I saw from the cast. What to do, what to do?
On the other hand, the Comedy of Errors was hilarious. Now THERE is the way to do Shakespeare.