Florham Park, NJ - There’s nothing like the theatrical commentary of George Bernard Shaw to explore love, lust and over-the-top intrigue to make for a stimulating evening.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey offers another romp at its outdoor location at the Thomas H. Kean Theatre Factory in Florham Park.The three one-act plays were broken up into five segments. “Village Wooing,” with Christian Frost and Katja Yacker, were interspersed with “Overruled” and “Passion, Poison & Petrifaction or The Fatal Gazogene.” The latter is somewhat obscure, but intriguing nevertheless.
“Village Wooing” starts off on the deck of the Empress of Patagonia in 1934. The flirtation of two unlikely people, mainly over what may be class differences, causes them to go their separate ways. But strangely enough, they are reconnected sometime later in a Wiltshire village shop. Much as A resists Z, we see that they may be meant for each other after all.
From the first portion of the wooing scenario, we are taken to a seaside resort in “Overruled.” It seems that Mrs. Juno (Skye Pagon) is attracted to Mr. Lunin (Isaac Hickox--Young.) Although married to other people, this is fine during their stylish, sophisticated flirtation. That is, until two other people approach. Both sound familiar, so the two hide themselves but listen in. It seems Mr. Juno (Frost) has taken a gander to Mrs. Lunn (Billie Wyatt.) Although everyone swears eternal love to the other person’s partner, it all has a way of dissolving in the end.
Following another “Village Wooing” scene, we meet up with the “Passion,Poison” ensemble at a fancy lodging on a stormy night. Lady Magnesia (Ellie Gossage) is distraught when her husband George (Jeffrey Marc Alkins) appears in a dark cloak, carrying a dagger. A stylish young man (Dino Curia) appears and is somehow poisoned with a lime mixture. This turns him into a statue, as witnessed by a landlady, a policeman and a doctor. The sound effects of thunder and strains of “Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home” keep it all moving along.
In the last vignette, we’re back to “Village Wooing” as the two young people decide they really are meant for each other, along with artichokes, eggs, melons and pears.
One of the very appealing aspects of this outdoor evening is the music, such as “Tea for Two” and other period songs. Artistic Director Bonne Monte has brought all this delightful mix together, with the actors of the Shrewd Mechanicals Company providing flair and precision. Steven L. Beckel is set and lighting designer, wardrobe by Alisa Korunow and hornpipe choreographed by Emily Michelle Walton.
It’s so rare to have live performances in these difficult times. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has brought a rare treat to local residents, where we can applaud, join in the laughter and be part of a communal experience. Although “Shaw! Shaw! Shaw!” is ending this weekend, you can learn more about The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey by visiting their website www.ShakespeareNJ.org or calling 973-408-5600. You may want to check out “Something Wicked This Way Comes” on Oct. 29,30 and 31st at the Back Yard Stage.