The 21st season of the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival will open with one of the Bard’s early comedies.
The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company will present “Love’s Labour’s Lost” at 8 p.m. June 30 through July 2, July 7 through 9, and July 14 through 16 in Kingsmen Park on the Thousand Oaks campus of California Lutheran University.
Veteran KSF actor/director and Cal Lutheran alumnus Kevin P. Kern directs. He played the role of Boyet in the 2004 production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” Kern, the founding artistic director of Shakespeare at the Castle and chair of the Theatre Department at the University of Mount Union in Ohio, is the former director of Kingsmen’s Apprentice Company and Summer Theatre Camp. He made his directorial debut with the festival in 2008 with a 1970s take on “As You Like It.”
This year’s production is set in pre-World War I Europe. The king of Navarre and his three lords have vowed to abstain from the company of women for three years. Hilarity ensues when the French princess and her three companions appear at the court and demand entrance. Along the way, a heartsick Spanish warrior, two pompous academics, and a dimwitted yet energetic clown appear.
KSF veteran Michael Faulkner and newcomer Jerry Kernion bring the physical comedy skills they honed with the internationally known Reduced Shakespeare Company troupe to their roles as schoolteacher Holofernes and court swain Costard. Last year, Faulkner appeared in “Henry V” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Several other actors from last summer’s popular “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” return in “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” including romantic leads Ross Hellwig, Samantha Eggers and Angela Gulner as Rosaline. Jason D. Rennie, who played Puck in “Dream,” returns as the Spanish braggart Don Adriano de Armado. Rennie was an apprentice in the first Kingsmen Apprentice company in 1999 and has served the company not only as an actor but also as a fire breather, fight choreographer, director of staged readings and workshop leader.
Another performer with a long history in the theater company is Kenneth Toll, who plays Dumaine, a lord in the king’s court. Toll was a child actor in the first season of Kingsmen, a Rhodes Junior apprentice, an acting apprentice and an actor-teacher for the Kingsmen Shakespeare Educational Tour.
The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is Cal Lutheran’s professional theater company.
The festival grounds open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking and entertainment. General admission is $20 for adults and free for those under 18. Individual tickets are available at the door only. For lawn box reservations or more information, visit kingsmenshakespeare.org or call 805-493-3452.