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Two "Gentlemen" of Verona

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This past summer St. Louis celebrated William Shakespeare with Shake-38, a citywide production of all 38 of Shakespeare's plays by 38 different groups in just 38 hours. Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble performed a staged reading of The Two Gentlemen of Verona on a playground, and in doing so discovered in Shakespeare's least-developed play a hidden truth: The characters all behave with the impetuousness of children. With this in mind, SATE has further refined their interpretation for a full-staged production in which Proteus and Valentine, two lifelong friends who become rivals over a woman, are children -- girl children, in fact. What appears to be weaknesses in Shakespeare's characterizations of adult men -- their hot-and-cold friendship, Proteus' fickleness when it comes to love, their ludicrous problem solving skills -- make more sense when these actions are performed by little ladies. Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble presents William Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (November 10 to 19) at the Black Cat Theater (2810 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-827-5760 or www.slightlyoff.org). Tickets are $15.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: Nov. 10. Continues through Nov. 19, 2011

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