Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday To-Do: Arkansas Shakespeare Festival

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 10:53 AM

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ARKANSAS SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
7:30 p.m., UCA Campus, Conway. $10-$20.

Bill the Bard is back. Going strong in its fifth year and enjoying a recent mention in the New York Times, Arkansas's take on the omnipresent summer Shakespeare festival returns to UCA with four plays in 13 days, arranged in six weeks by a 70-person crew of performers, designers and craftsmen from Arkansas and beyond. This year, the repertory tackles "Henry V," the bloody war drama set in "the vasty fields of France," "Comedy of Errors," one of the Bard's earliest, goofiest pieces about long-lost twins, "Alice in Wonderland," the ever-trip-y children's classic and "Dracula," the grandpappy tale to today's blood-lusting soap operas. Founding artistic director Matt Chiorini is again helming the festival while following in the footsteps of Lawrence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh by pulling double duty as both director and lead in "Henry V." Curtains go up Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. for "Comedy of Errors," which repeats on Thursday before handing the stage over to King Henry and his soldiers on Friday and Saturday. The festival has also lowered ticket prices from seasons previous in hopes of keeping the seats full in spite of the recession, even taking a cue from The Rep with "pay what you can" rates on Sundays. Bunnies, brothers, bites and battles — all for your budget.

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