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Shakespeare Comes to Hurricane

The Rustic Mechanicals performed William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost at Valley Park on Saturday, July 30th.

The Rustic Mechanicals visited the giant shelter at Valley Park in Hurricane on Saturday, July 30, to perform their rendition of William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. The play, like the first performance more than four hundred years ago, was performed without audio amplification. The acoustics of the shelter make amplification unnecessary.

The production included costuming which would have been totally foreign to Shakespeare and one cannot help but wonder what the Bard of Avon’s reaction to the troupe’s use of Sam Cooke’s What a Wonderful World and Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off might have been.

Love’s Labour’s Lost is a comedy which was exceedingly humorous in 1595. The 2022 Rustic Mechanical version of the play, however, may have exceeded the 1595 original in hilarity.

One Rustic Mechanical scene which would have outdone the original in hilarity is a scene in which the King of Navarre and his three companions, having sworn to forgo the company of women for three years to devote time to the study of higher things, disguise themselves as Muscovites with the intent of wooing the Princess of France and her three ladies in waiting. The Rustic Mechanical disguise included scarlet t-shirts featuring the Soviet Union hammer and sickle.

The Rustic Mechanicals performed Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at Valley Park in 2021. They are the only troupe of actors in West Virginia dedicated to touring the works of William Shakespeare.

Their previous productions include As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Romeo And Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night.

The troupe now tours five shows annually (two each in the spring and fall and one in the summer), with an intentional focus on making Shakespeare’s plays accessible and engaging for modern audiences throughout the state.

Their visit to Valley Park was sponsored by the Putnam County Library.

The Rustic Mechanicals sang songs that Shakespeare never heard.
Jason A. Young as Don Armado
Timmy Walker as Moth
Erica Cottrill as Jaquenetta
Samantha Huffman as Anthony Dull
Ben Long as Longaville
Jackson Johnson as Holofernes
Shakespeare’s Muscovites did not wear t-shirts.
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