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Shakespeare Under the Stars returns

  • Sun Jun 20th, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

By Helen and Dan, Island Stage Left.

“Are you good men and true?”

It’s been two years since we wrote a fundraising letter, and two years since we last saw you all. It was a long, gray time. But a couple of months ago I put a message on Facebook, asking “If we built it, would you come?” And over 400 people responded immediately and enthusiastically that they would, and that they missed their “Shakespeare under the Stars” dreadfully.

That response sent me into Churchillian mode: “Never, never, never give up. Never.”

First of all, I told everyone involved with the production that we must all be fully immunized before rehearsals could begin. Then I started talking with our state representatives, and the county and the state health departments, to get a sense of what this summer might hold in terms of Covid regulations. Once vaccinations were available to all, I lobbied for new regulations.

Despite the uncertainties, we had to begin preparations or we would lose the possibility of being ready for summer. Actors were contacted, the show was cast once again, and housing was miraculously found thanks to the great generosity of a few faithful souls. The stage was refurbished and our marvelous island set builders and painters brought their tools and went straight to work.

Eventually, with the great help of the Washington State Arts Commission liaison, Karen Hanan, I was given some hopeful news, and ultimately, following the most recent CDC recommendations, I received word that by June 30th our fully vaccinated actors would no longer be required to maintain a 6’ distance from each other and wear masks on stage!

So we took the leap, and now it’s happening: actors are converging on the island (one driving across country to get to us!). “Onward and upward” is the order of the day.

“ But I came hither to tell you…”

‘Much Ado About Nothing’

July 8-Aug. 8

A cast of 14 meets together for the first time this week. Preliminary rehearsals have already begun. This is the biggest gamble ISL has ever taken. The cast and crew are about to be paid, costumes are being sewn, others have been bought, the set is nearly finished and now we just have to pray there is no COVID backsliding.

We are determined to give the islands a show that is worth the long, dark wait. Sunshine, humor and love reign eternal in Shakespeare’s romantic comedy. We are setting the story in the English countryside during the summer of 1919, as the world is emerging from war and (of course) a global pandemic. It is an era of suffragettes and whisky-drinking aristocrats, offset by the hilariously confused (yet accidentally effective!) local constabulary.

“The fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it”

All this comes at quite a cost, and we can’t pull it off without serious help. We have not felt right asking for funds during the pandemic, and our cupboards are a bit bare. So we are asking now. Can you help? Might you sponsor an out-of-town actor? A crew member? A wedding dress worthy of Downton Abbey? A prop? We hope that you are able to be generous in your donations. If indeed you are in a circumstance to sponsor a member of the team, costumes, props — do please call or email. 360-378-5649 or stageleft@centurytel.net.

It would be nice if we could one day feel that the COVID nightmare was all much ado about nothing, but it isn’t. The health and safety of our audiences is of primary importance to us, and we do not underestimate the trauma of the last year and a half. We will be taking every necessary precaution to protect our workers and our audiences.

We are all fully vaccinated, and we are ready to lighten your load in a sunny explosion of love and laughter – craftily seasoned with a moment of mistaken grief, but ending in joy and dancing.

We long to see you again and hope you will take this opportunity to lighten our load a little, too.

 

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