“All the world’s a stage…”

So begins one of William Shakespeare’s famous soliloquies in his comedy of wayward lovers, As You Like It. Serving as the world’s stage in Kennebunk this summer is Lafayette Park where the MaineStage Shakespeare company returns to perform three of Shakespeare’s classic plays.

The plays are presented in an alternating repertory schedule. Along with As You Like It, which aptly takes place in a pastoral setting, is the study of tragic intrigue, Othello, and a romantic romp, Love’s Labours Lost. The performances continue Thursday, Friday and Saturday through August 11. The shows start at 7 PM with a matinee on Saturday at 2 PM. Performances are free, although donations are accepted. (See sidebar for performance schedule.)

Visitors are invited to bring chairs and blankets to spread out on the park lawn to enjoy the outdoor shows. In case of rain the plays move to the Kennebunk Town Hall.

Chiara Klein, who was introduced to Shakespeare’s plays at age seven, serves as the artistic director of the company. Through the years Klein performed in several theaters, including companies in New York. In 2010 she earned degrees in theater and psychology from Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.

Collaborating with Meg Smith, the company’s associate artistic director and another theater colleague, Stephanie Strohm, Klein formed the MaineStage Shakespeare company.

Klein says, “The first time many people encounter Shakespeare is reading his plays in school, sometimes with disappointing results. It’s not until you experience his words and see his characters in action that you realize how brilliant his writing is. We’re pleased to be returning to Kennebunk with the three new shows.”

The company consists of the eleven actors, three directors and one technician. While most are in their mid-twenties, they provide stirring performances of mature, seasoned Shakespearean actors.

In addition to Klein and Smith, company members returning are: Rachael Yoder, Jay Ben Markson, David Mavricos, and Aidan Eastwood-Paticchio. New to the company are Kelly Pekar, Fernando Lamberty, Alex Shaw, Joseph Bromfield, and Jordan Laroya.

The story of As You Like It starts with political mischief and winds up in the magical Forest of Arden. There ladies pose as men and love get complicated with the introduction of each new character. It is directed by New York-based Natalie Holmes.
Othello tells the tragic tale of deceit, jealousy and betrayal concocted by the menacing character Iago, whose actions bring the downfall of many innocent people. Director James A. Bond returns Kennebunk to direct Othello.

Love’s Labours Lost matches comic wits among the sexes as men of the town of Navarre swear to stay away from women for four years, while the women have other ideas. Klein directs.

Klein discovered Kennebunk as a place to present the shows as a result of her connection with Smith, who summers in Kennebunkport. Smith’s knowledge of the area helped Klein work with Barry Tibbetts, the Kennebunk town manager and Brian Costello, director of the town’s recreation department.

The summer season is being made possible with the town’s help and generous support of an anonymous backer, plus corporate sponsors that include The Kennebunk Festival Committee, Kennebunk Savings, Full Circle, The Frame Works, Saxony Imports, Historic Inns of Kennebunkport and other supporting patrons.

In addition to the stage performances the company also provides two ShakesSTAR! summer theater camps for youngster age 5 to 17. One camp is called KidSummer: Actin Out with campers cast in the Saturday matinee of Love’s Labour Lost. The second camp is called Playgroundlings: Write On! where campers write their own show which they perform as a curtain raiser at Saturday matinees.

Each camp last five days a week and continue through Saturday, August 11. The programs provide campers the opportunity to learn from company cast members a variety of theater basics such as acting, writing, improvisation, storytelling, dance, arts and crafts and more.

For more information call (207) 467-5118 or visit: www.mainestageshakespeare.com or contact the Kennebunk Recreation Department at (207) 604-1335 or visit: www.kennebunkrec.com.
Photo caption A: Group posing
MaineStage Shakespeare members prepare for shows in Lafayette Park: Jordan Laroya, Alexander Shaw, Aidan Eastwood-Paticchio, Chiara Klein, Kelly Pekar, Rachael Yoder

Photo caption B: Ensemble
Company member of MaineStage Shakespeare on stage in Lafayette Park, Kennebunk:
Back row: Aidan Eastwood-Paticchio, Fernando Lamberty, Joseph Bromfield, Alexander Shaw, Chiara Klein, Meg Kiley Smith, Kelly Pekar, Rachael Yoder .
Front row: Jordan Laroya, David Mavricos, Jay Ben Markson

Word count: 743
Every word: Labour of Love Lost