Love's Labour's Lost has a brand new look Penny Brearly

Love’s Labour’s Lost is the Week 3 main show at the ADC Theatre this term. I got in touch with its directing team, led by Clara van Wel, to talk about the show, its inspiration, and how freshers can get involved in Cambridge theatre.

So what first drew you Love’s Labour’s Lost? It’s not one of the more popular Shakespeare plays...

We were particularly interested in Love’s Labour’s Lost over Shakespeare’s more popular comedies because it’s less frequently performed, but still a very well-crafted play, and its ending has got to be one of the most unexpectedly poignant in Shakespeare’s whole body of work. We’ve been inspired by some recent productions which have used more modern settings to great effect, like the RSC’s (Royal Shakespeare Company) 2014 version of Love’s Labour’s Lost, and we realised that with the right setting and the right actors, we could really bring the play alive.

Thomas Warwick

Why set it in 1930s Cambridge?

The world of the play seems a perfect fit for a university – its very first scene sees the men swear off their social lives in order to focus on study for three years! The characters are great as Cambridge students – they want to have fun but they also are desperate to impress and make an impact on the world. They’re certainly eager and intelligent, but also a little naive.

“The world of the play seems a perfect fit for a university – its very first scene sees the men swear off their social lives in order to focus on study for three years”

The pre-war tensions of the 1930s also seem quite fitting for Love’s Labour’s Lost’s amalgam of comedy and tragedy. Cambridge at this time has so much potential as a setting – the university’s strictly gender-segregated colleges and well-documented resistance to women holding degrees (even full membership of the university) at this time makes you think a lot more seriously about the Prince and his friends’ refusal to let women into their academic spaces.

What would you like the people who see this show to take away from it?

Hopefully that people have a really fun time with this play! Especially those who might not have had the chance to see Love’s Labour’s Lost before and get to enjoy one of the Bard’s less-performed comedies. We’d like people to come away thinking that Shakespeare’s comedies can be as rich and complex as his tragedies.

Finally, have you got any advice for freshers looking to get involved in theatre?

Go for it! We’re holding auditions especially for freshers and Cambridge has a ridiculous amount of theatre to get involved in, so apply for whatever interests you. Join the ‘Cambridge Theatre’ group on Facebook if you haven’t already and check Camdram to see what’s on. No one ever gets everything they apply for either, so don’t worry too much about rejection and keep going for stuff. Freshers’ plays, whether they’re the CUADC (Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club) ones, college ones, or fresher-designated roles in other plays, are an excellent way to meet new people and build up your experience, so definitely give them a go.

Love’s Labour’s Lost is on at the ADC Theatre in Week 3, with performances at 7:45pm, Tuesday 24th - Saturday 28th October

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