Vermont Shakespeare Company, one of my favorite places to work, and run by some of my dearest friends, is celebrating their 10th Anniversary Season!
Each month, they're asking an actor to reflect on their own experience of working at VSC. So here’s a little remembrance I wrote about the 2006 summer season for their May newsletter. Hot on the heels of my Mother's Day post (just below!), it ties in nicely with thematically, AND I want to give VSC a big shout out -- absolutely dreamy destination theater if you’re looking for something to do this summer!
I played two of my absolute favorite roles at Vermont Shakespeare Company -- “Beatrice” in Much Ado About Nothing (2010) and “Feste” in Twelfth Night (2006) – and both rank among the most joyful, fulfilling theatrical experiences of my life. Making theater with great artists who happen to be great friends; working in the idyllic environs of Lake Champlain; acting with my husband, and introducing our young children to the magic of (outdoor! summer!) Shakespeare.
I was thrilled to land the role of Feste. I love comedy, but I’d never gotten to play a bona fide Shakespearean clown before. Plus, although I’m a singer, not being a proper musical theater actress, I don’t get to do it onstage very often, and Feste has the most marvelous songs. But the real boon, let’s be honest, was that this Feste got her very own onstage tree swing . Heigh-ho!
Our firstborn was just 19 months old that summer, and he spent a lot of time hanging around rehearsal; I was surprised how much he seemed to enjoy it, really take it in. Now that baby’s a cool ten-year old who loves soccer, skateboards… and still, Shakespeare. (Especially the bawdy jokes).
Who knows whether he’ll be an actor when he grows up, but I’ll never forget the summer he heard his first Shakespeare – or the sweet sorrow of holding my toddler in my lap as we swayed gently on that swing, the lake glistening to our right, the Lipizzaner stallions nickering softly to our left, as I sang him Feste’s song:
What is love?
'Tis not hereafter.
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure.
In delay there lies no plenty,
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty.
Youth's a stuff will not endure.