Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s ‘Love’s Labors Lost’ shines
Rap music, dancing soccer players, dreadlocks, joint smoking, and a bicycle cop eating donuts would come as no shock to any Santa Cruzan. That is except, perhaps, as elements of a Shakespeare production. Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s 29th season includes all of these things and then some, and succeeds in carrying the markedly era-confined play over into the 21st century.
Under the clever direction of Scott Wentworth, Shakespeare Santa Cruz breaks “Love’s Labor’s Lost” from its traditionally unpopular role. On opening night, well-timed laughter spills from coat-clad audience members that sit in the UC Santa Cruz Festival Glen and trickles across the wooden set back through a backdrop of redwood trees. “Love’s Labor’s Lost” is a highly intellectual work that uses the elaborate witticisms of Shakespeare in the 1590s to grapple with the victories and inadequacies of language in relationships. The droll plot tests the oaths of the king and his men, sending them on abrupt forays into matters of the heart when the Princess of France and her ladies come to stay. The play dabbles with everything from love, to loss, to sex, to death, learning, duty, and wisdom.