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Four Remaining Weeks, Four Plays at the Festival

Photos, left to right: Josh Innerst as Guiderius, Jeremy Thompson as Arviragus, and Jasmine Bracey as Belarius in Cymbeline; a scene from The Pirates of Penzance; Michael Doherty as Vyvian Jones and Alex Keiper as Jo Smith in The Comedy of Terrors; and Josh Innerst as Mr. Marks and Afua Busia as Esther in Intimate Apparel. (Photos by Karl Hugh.)

Photos, left to right: Josh Innerst as Guiderius, Jeremy Thompson as Arviragus, and Jasmine Bracey as Belarius in Cymbeline; a scene from The Pirates of Penzance; Michael Doherty as Vyvian Jones and Alex Keiper as Jo Smith in The Comedy of Terrors; and Josh Innerst as Mr. Marks and Afua Busia as Esther in Intimate Apparel. (Photos by Karl Hugh.)

By Liz Armstrong

Following an emotional and powerful week of closing performances of The Comedy of Errors, Pericles, Richard III, and Ragtime, it is with a new burst of energy that the Utah Shakespeare Festival happily announces that the entertainment isn’t over yet! 

With four fabulous performances to see before the season ends October 9, Festival administrators and artists hope you purchase tickets to enjoy another four weeks of live theatre.

The Comedy of Terrors

This chaotic and comedic play consists of not only twin sisters, but twin brothers as well. Throw in another brother that looks identical to his older twin brothers, and it’s, well, a recipe for disaster. 

Performed by husband-and-wife Alex Keiper and Michael Doherty, the duo takes on the challenge of playing five characters between them. Doherty describes this play as “a sweaty high wire act, a farce in comedy of manners clothing, and a total delight for all who lean in.”

The comedic mistaking of the twins over and over throughout the play will have you smacking your forehead in frustration, laughing all the while as you watch the characters spin themselves into an amusing web of confusion.

Playing the Smith sisters, Keiper encourages those thinking about attending the play to come for a laugh. “The Comedy of Terrors was made to make people laugh,” Keiper said. “We’re hoping to bring some levity and outright silliness into the hearts of anyone who comes to see us.” 

Cymbeline

Set in Britain, this play follows Imogen, the only child of the king. In love with Posthumus instead of her stepmother’s son and chosen husband, Imogen is caught in a tragic tale of star-crossed lovers. 

Throughout the play, the evil queen plots her stepdaughter’s death, a “friend” convinces Postumus of Imogen’s infidelity, sleeping potions cause supposed deaths, and Cymbeline prepares for war with Rome. 

Despite it all, a happy ending ensues, so purchase tickets to this rarely performed Shakespearean play, full of intrigue and deception.

Playing in the intimate Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre, this play uses a variety of trunks provided by the props team to creatively add to the fantastical theme of the performance. 

Intimate Apparel

Set in the early 1900s in New York City, Intimate Apparel is a heart-rending play that gracefully navigates the human desire to be loved, while dealing with the difficult issues of racial, religious, and class divisions.

After years of sewing intimate apparel for other women, Esther battles with feelings of loneliness as she longs to be married. She begins a flirtatious correspondence with George, who is working in Panama, all while tucking away money in her quilt in hopes to one day fulfill her own dreams. 

Esther marries George but soon learns he is not the man she believed him to be. She ends up back where she was at the beginning of the play, sewing in the boarding house of Mrs. Dickson, stitching piece after piece of material together, resiliently mending her broken heart in the process.

The Pirates of Penzance

A sparkling and adventurous play full of policemen, pirates, and vivacious women, Frederic is bound to the pirate trade after finally finding his true love, Mabel. Must he follow the call to duty and abandon his true love? Or will love conquer all?

Breathtaking set design and colorful costumes will transport you into another world, one where an energetic and hilarious Pirate King will tap-dance away with your heart and cowardly policemen will playfully earn your sympathy.

Richard R. Henry, playing Major-General Stanley, says it’s a treat to be able to spend some time in the Gilbert and Sullivan universe and their particular brand of humor.  “[The director has] assembled an incredible team of theatre folk to tell this hilarious classic tale in a fresh new way,” Henry said. 

The catchy tunes and energetic acting make this Gilbert and Sullivan classic especially family friendly, and you will leave smiling, content with the happy-ever-after we all wish to have.

The Festival’s 2021 season continues through October 9. Tickets are available by calling 800-PLAYTIX or visiting www.bard.org.

© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2023 www.bard.org