"That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man/If with his tongue he cannot win a woman."
—William Shakespeare, "Two Gentlemen of Verona"
Shakespeare by the Sea celebrates its 15th anniversary season this year, with two of the Bard's best: "Romeo and Juliet" and "Two Gentlemen of Verona."
Sponsored by the Newport Beach City Arts Commission, the two free performances at Bonita Canyon Sports Park will be held at 7 p.m. on July 7 and 8, with "Romeo and Juliet" onstage on Saturday night, followed by "Two Gentlemen of Verona" on Sunday. Shakespeare by the Sea performs the two shows throughout the Southland each summer.
The Sports Park setting is flat and grassy, so bring a blanket or low chair to sit on, in order to avoid blocking the view of other attendees. Check the weather before you leave, and wear layers — warm days can quickly become chilly evenings.
Cy Brown and Barbara Jean Urich star as the star-crossed lovers in the Shakespeare by the Sea's 2012 production of staging of "Romeo and Juliet." The classic tragic tale of feuding Italian families and the two youths who fell in love despite their own intentions has long been a staple of high school English classes.
"Two Gentlemen of Verona" may be a bit more esoteric to Orange County audiences, but the play — although it is another tale of frustrated lovers, one of whom who, like Romeo, forsakes a previous amour for love at first sight — is Shakespeare's first comedy, and is believed to be his first play.
Written several years earlier than "Romeo and Juliet," somewhere around 1590, it features two young men, Valentine and Proteus; the young women they love, Julia and Silvia; swashbuckling outlaws; cross-dressing heroines; and more than a dash of mistaken identities. It is perhaps best known for the character Launce, a scene-stealing servant, and his dog Crab.
Each performance is free to attend, but arrive early to ensure a good view. For more information, visit shakespearebythesea.org.
A glossary of words to get you bantering like the Bard
Carouse: Binge drink
Coxcomb: Conceited fool
Dotard: Senile old man
If You Go
What: Shakespeare by the Sea
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Bonita Canyon Sports Park, Bonita Canyon and Mesa View Drives, Newport Beach