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Jenny Ledel

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Shakespeare Dallas does “Twelfth Night” and (so I hear) “Coriolanus”

So, on Sunday, June 17, I went to catch Shakespeare in the Park for Shakespeare Dallas‘ production of “Twelfth Night”.

I like going on Sundays, because the crowds are less than on Fridays or Saturdays. The 17th was a bit of a last-minute decision, though. I’d planned to go, but the weather threatened. I dithered. As the hour grew near, however, it looked like the storms were going to pass South. Maybe.

So I chanced it. Arrived just as Shakespeare Dallas’ Executive and Artistic Director (and director of this particular production—and also a super nice guy I met quite randomly some years back) Raphael Parry was doing his pre-perfomance spiel. You know—phones off, give money please, we love our members, no recording, no smoking. But I was still nervous about the weather. I’d seen 2 lonely raindrops on my windshield driving in, and felt 3 more as I laid out my towel and chair in the Members Only section (cool jackets with too many snaps and sleeves pushed up not required). Nervous enough that I put my phone into a zip-close baggie, after turning it off.

Fortunately, other than those 5 raindrops, the only thing the weather brought was a pleasant, mid-70s evening, complete with a comfortable breeze to help keep the skeeters at bay. So we could enjoy a marvelous performance of one of Shakespeare’s great comedies, “Twelfth Night”.

Bear in mind, Shakespeare Dallas is not “community theater”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you don’t have the director’s daughter Daisy Mae playing Viola against her brother Jethro as Orsino (with the requisite “eeewww” factor as Viola pines over Orsino). These are professional actors working with professional directors and professional stagehands.

And many of the actors and are repeat offenders with SD, and quite good. I recognized Jenny Ledel right off as Viola and Anthony Ramirez as Malvolio. Both have been in SD productions quite frequently, and both are excellent. Ramirez frequently gets the comical roles—and excels at them—but he’s also really good at the really very tragic (and briefly comical) Malvolio who is literally the only character in this play who doesn’t have a happy ending (face it—the guy gets hosed here).

But I don’t mean to focus on those two—I thought the whole cast was good. The whole show.

So, keeping with my Sunday theory—and misreading the schedule for this year—I went this past Sunday (the 24th) to see “Coriolanus”. I was kind of curious about this one—I’d read it (or at least the “Cliff’s Notes” for it) my Freshman year of college, for a class called “Politics and Philosophy”. The other things we read were Kant and Plato and Machiavelli (to name the few I remember). I seem to recall “Coriolanus” fit right in.

But I’d mis-read the schedule they sent out to members. I’m NOT picking on SD here—everyone does this—but whose brilliant idea was it to label Saturday with an “S” AND Sunday with an “S”? At least, Tuesday and Thursday often get “T” and “Th”, respectively (though not always—they are often just “T” and “T”).

Anyway, Sundays this season are for “Twelfth Night”. All of them (well, all of them until the Junior Players take over July 24-29 for “Taming of the Shrew”).

I stayed. It was good the first time, and it was good again. They had some sound issues this time around—but hey, it happens. The play was good, and well-staged.

I’ll have to go catch “Coriolanus” on a Wednesday.

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