A look at what's ahead for a
fledgling theater company and the area's veteran summer-stagers
By Amy Kroin
While the Lenox-based Shakespeare & Company is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a season full of tragedies, the Hampshire Shakespeare Company is ringing in the season with two comedies: Measure for Measure and The Winter's Tale. "Both plays," said Hampshire Shakespeare publicist Lucinda Kidder, "deal with worlds out of joint as a result of extremism and inflexibility."
When Measure for Measure opens, the Duke of Vienna finds his city in chaos. He appoints puritanical taskmaster Lord Angelo to act in his place and restore order. Among the characters chafing against Lord Angelo's rule are young Claudio, who's in trouble for impregnating his fiancée, and Pompey the Pimp.
There will be two productions of The Winter's Tale mounted this season: one produced by adult actors, and one presented by the Young Players, a group of apprentice actors between the ages of 10 and 18. The play tells the story of Leontes, King of Sicilia, who charges his wife Hermione with infidelity. When Hermione gives birth, Leontes -- who believes the child is not his -- demands that the baby be abandoned. Miraculously, a play that delves into some pretty bleak territory ends on a decidedly up note.
Hampshire Shakespeare Company performs under the stars outside the Hartsbrook School on 193 Bay Road in Hadley. Tickets may be purchased at Atticus Bookstore in Amherst, Beyond Words Bookshop in Northampton, Edwards Books in Springfield and the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, or online at www.hampshireshakespeare.org.