Shakespeare, symphony on deck for August
By Treva Lind
August brings two classics to Liberty Lake with free outdoor performances of a Shakespearean comedy followed by the annual Spokane Symphony concert in Pavillion Park a week later.
Returning for a fourth year in a row, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks will perform "As You Like It" at 5 p.m. Aug. 23. The event is part of the Friends of Pavillion Park Summer Festival Series.
Audiences will find the play set in the early years of the copper industry in Butte, Mont., during the tumultuous time of the "Copper Kings" and union conflicts.
The play includes one of Shakespeare's most quoted lines: "All the world's a stage." Characters include the heroine Rosalind, her cousin Celia and Touchstone.
Montana Shakespeare artistic director Kevin Asselin said audience members will find much relevancy in the themes presented in the company's performance. The settings contrast the resplendent, urbane world of the Copper Kings with the healing, natural world of the wilderness.
Asselin has a long history with MSIP as tour actor, educator, fight choreographer and director. He said the Shakespeare play made a clear delineation between the "court" world, or a capitalistic monopoly, and the transformative environment found among characters as they escape to the forest. People in modern times can find a similar clarity when spending time in nature, he said.
"My goal is to make Shakespeare as relevant to modern audiences as it was then," Asselin said. "Being in nature allows the characters, and us, the opportunity to reset our lives, to gain perspective and reflect about life, and we can return better refreshed. This is still relevant to audiences today."
An outreach program of Montana State University's College of Arts and Architecture, Montana Shakespeare is in its 42nd season of bringing free professional theatrical productions throughout Montana and into neighboring states during a 10-week summer tour. Ten professional actors were selected in national auditions to tour without technical assistance and bring quality live theatre to rural areas.
The troupe expects to perform 75 shows in 61 communities in Montana, northern Wyoming, Eastern Idaho, western North Dakota and Eastern Washington. However, that Eastern Washington reference is for the one show in Liberty Lake, since it is the group's only scheduled performance in the state.
Organizers encourage audiences to bring chairs, blankets, and a picnic to set up before curtain time.
The following Saturday brings the annual Lud Kramer Memorial concert at 6 p.m. Aug. 30, featuring the Spokane Symphony with music director Eckart Preu. Traditionally held on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, FOPP also sponsors this concert as a free public event.
Bob Schneidmiller, FOPP president, said both of these August events meet the group's mission to promote a sense of pride by providing the Liberty Lake community with opportunities for recreation, entertainment, and the arts.
"We have been bringing the Spokane Symphony to Pavillion Park for more than 15 years and look forward to the Aug. 30 concert," he said. "They always play a variety of music that appeals to the masses."
Audience members are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner, blankets and low-back chairs to enjoy the Spokane Symphony's mix of classics, show tunes and patriotic marches. For the symphony performance, a free shuttle bus will run from the Liberty Lake Elementary School to the park's parking lot beginning at 5 p.m.
Schneidmiller also lauded the annual work done by Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.
"Having the Montana Shakespeare company visit Pavillion Park for the fourth year provides our community with a unique experience that cannot be found anyplace else in Washington," he said. "Having a Shakespeare play put on in a beautiful outdoor setting is an experience that all should have."
Laura Frank, an FOPP board member, also said the non-profit is thrilled to have Montana Shakespeare become a regular feature each summer.
"We look forward to continuing our relationship with them for years to come," Frank said. "It is a great family-friendly event and a wonderful way to introduce children to Shakespeare and get them excited about theater."
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IF YOU GO ...
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks
5 p.m. Aug. 23, Pavillion Park
The traveling theater troupe returns for the fourth year in a row with a performance of the comedy, "As You Like It."
6 p.m. Aug. 30, Pavillion Park
The Lud Kramer Memorial Concert will feature a mix of classics, show tunes and patriotic marches.
Hosted by Friends of Pavillion Park, both events are free and open to the public. Liberty Lake Kiwanis will offer concessions for purchase.