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September’s Play of the Month: Love’s Labour’s Lost September 6, 2012 12:00 AM
Your wit's too hot, it speeds too fast, 'twill tire. (a2s1)

I know I featured a comedy last month but I really want to again this month because the local Shakespeare Company where I live, which is Mesa AZ, is opening their season with it (see article on Southwest Shakespeare Company on the events page). I promise I will do something more serious next month! 
Love’s Labour’s Lost was written in 1595 and it is known as Shakespeare’s most mannered and the most Elizabethan play. With its campy and amusing dialogue, comic debate and strong witty characters it is a favorite with theater lovers. Due to the fairly recent victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588, it is not surprising that the character that has the most fun poke at him is the pompous Armodo. Although, in the end, you have a bit of an affection for him anyway. 
The interesting thing about LLL is that even though it is a comedy, its ending is not a happy one but more of an “unfinished” ending where the “happily ever after’s” are going to have to wait. Many believe there was a sequel to the play entitled Love’s Labour’s Won, where the couples do get married. Unfortunately, this play has not survived, which is a bit surprising considering how much plagiarism went on in those days. 
The play is set in Navarre, which is a former kingdom situated between Spain and France. King Ferdinand has decided to use all his time in pursuit of knowledge and convinces his friends to do the same, and getting their pledge in writing. His court is set in a more pastoral setting. Due to this self-imposed pledge, all women are excluded from entering the court so as not to distract the students from their learning. As world affairs move on, the Princess of France pays a diplomatic visit to the Kingdom of Navarre, and along with ladies in waiting, they slowly begin to break the students resolve to devote their time strictly to their studies. They do a bit of play-acting to try to fool each other, but these bits of flirting are eventually overshadowed by reality when news comes that the King of France has died, thus making it imperative for all the women to return as soon as possible to France. We are left with the hope that within a year’s time, they will all be reunited. 
The fun parts of this play are all the strong characters that are in it. Not only do you have the four male and female players, but you have the side love story of Armodo and Jaquenetta. I love it when Shakespeare has a character that can’t seem to get the English words right. He uses this in several plays and it is always funny. 
Because this play isn’t performed as often as some of the comedies, you need to take advantage when it is showing. If you don’t want to wait for a theater company to mount it, you can watch the 2000 movie version by Kenneth Branagh. I love this movie because he made a musical of it using Gershwin and Cole Porter music. There is only one actor that is can’t stand in it but I won’t mention which one. It may not be as well made and his Henry V, or Much Ado, movies but it is still worth seeing and fun to watch. I think it is a great one to introduce kids to Shakespeare. 

The charm for this play is a Christmas Tree and the quote is:

“At Christmas I no more desire a rose than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth; But like of each thing that in season grows.” (a1s1)