Review: 'Two Gentlemen of Verona'

August 12, 2010
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

One of the challenges of staging some of Shakespeare's comedies is figuring out how to make their endings satisfying and palatable to contemporary audiences.

Times, it is true, change. And where once--in the most obvious example--the "taming" of fiery Kate in "The Taming of the Shrew" was just peachy, these days directors must wrestle with whether to modify the original message or embrace the period.
In "Two Gentlemen of Verona," the "happy" ending includes one of the titular gentlemen, who has betrayed his lover and his best friend in pursuit of the latter's love, returning to his first intended with barely an apology. Marriage is next. End of story. "All's well that ends well," a 1760s audience might have said--and who cares what the women were feeling anyway? But today it's harder to feel that same joy.
The engaging production of the play staged at White River State Park Aug. 6-8 by Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre didn't solve the problem--it kind of barreled through it to the curtain call. But, to its credit, the lack of attention to the issue didn't take much away from the evening. Prior to the less-than-satisfying ending, HART effectively delivered nearly three hours of smiles in an easily understood, gracefully designed and lit production (aided and abetted, until the sun went down, by the White River shimmering behind it).
Adriano Gatto as the betraying gentleman and Chris Hatch as his best buddy grounded the problematic play while clowns R. Brian Noffke, Ryan Artzberger and Casper the Dog (in a remarkably lengthy canine role) scored well-deserved laughs in the more comedic parts. The women--including a generic Silvia, passion-generator for both gents--weren't quite working at the same level, but Shakespeare gave them less to go on so allowances should be made.
With three years of summer Shakespeare under its belt--and with these "Gentlemen" a notch in quality above last year's "Much Ado About Nothing,"--let's hope that an institution has been born. Expanding the show this year to three (free!) performances bodes well for HART taking an anchoring role in Indy's summer cultural life. As soon as the next show is announced, I'll be putting it in my datebook.
Your thoughts?

Post a comment to this blog

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.