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My Week in Stages – Part 2 (GRSF)

This post is one of three that began as one long, too-big-to-not-fail post before being busted up, AT&T-like, into leaner and meaner ones. See also Part 1 (Dylan) and Part 3 (GP).

Friday and Saturday, July 12-13

This is the Great River Shakespeare Festival’s (GRSF) 10th anniversary season. Joann and I have attended every year. It has never disappointed us, and this year was no exception.

We saw Twelfth Night on Friday evening. It was our fourth time seeing this play on stage and, not a surprise, the best production of the four. It is apparent that the comedies at GRSF can’t be beat. Chris Mixon–possibly my favorite actor in the company–was a riot as Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Tara Flanagan was born to play Cesario/Viola and was delightful. Joann and I also enjoyed the Saturday morning “Front Porch” lecture where Flanagan was joined onstage by two scholars to discuss the play. It was very interesting to hear her talk about her role.

Our friends Roger and Cathy joined us for the Saturday night performance of Henry V. This was their second year at the festival and we were happy to see them back (both for their company and for the GRSF, which needs all of the support it can get). This performance was on par with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival performance I saw in 1990, though the intimacy of the Winona State stage made for quite a different experience than the one at the large, open-air Elizabethan Stage in Ashland. I did have some reservations about the casting. I am used to seeing the actor who played King Henry in comedic roles, and he seemed less physically imposing than ideal for the part. He pulled it off, though, and by the end of the play he seemed made for the part. Quite a transformation.

Bonus content

The above content was written hastily as a part of my portmanteau post “My Week in Stages.” When I broke it into three unequal pieces–originally done so I could make use of YouTube concert videos–the resulting GRSF portion seemed sadly thin and neglected. No matter, I’ve gussied it up a bit by the addition of this anachronistic and goofy video. It wasn’t published online until 2015, but features many of the 2013 cast members. You may recognize my favorite comic actor, berouged and having fun in this takeoff on Jimmy Kimmel’s “mean tweets” gag.

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