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posted: 8/1/2014 1:29 PM

Shakespeare coming to Wheaton's Memorial Park

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By Bonnie McMaken
Wheaton Park District

Theater under the summer sky returns to Wheaton's Memorial Park with Shakespeare in the Park on Aug. 29 and 30.

A partnership has been forged between Wheaton Park District and Wheaton College's Arena Theater to present Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost," a light and mirthful tale about attraction, mistaken identities and love.

The free shows begin at 7 p.m. both nights at the park, 208 W. Union Ave. The park opens at 6 p.m. for seating and concessions. Donations are welcome; proceeds will benefit the DuPage County Historical Museum.

The partnership between the college and park district began last year with the intention of bringing Shakespeare in the Park to Wheaton for many years to come.

"We were very happy with the success of the event last year, and now we're building it to become something more established as we go," says Andy Mangin, production manager at Wheaton College's Arena Theater.

"We're laying the groundwork in the second year to do this great community event every year."

"Love's Labour's Lost" was one of Shakespeare's first plays. Considered one of his comedies, the story follows the high jinks of the king of Navarre and his three lords, Berowne, Longaville and Dumaine, who all swear an oath to scholarship, which includes fasting and avoiding contact with women for three years. As the men encounter visiting fair maidens, however, flirtations fly and confusion ensues.

Mangin says the cast will include primarily Arena Theater alumni, but also will include current students. Students also are involved in the planning and backstage elements of the production.

Mark Lewis, a theater professor at Wheaton College, is the director.

"Shakespeare's original words are beautiful and have stood the test of time; we want to bring them to life even more while best serving the play," Mangin says.

"We found last year that we liked integrating music into the evening. The beautiful words, the crazy characters, the evening light, your neighbors, the music: It can all work together to make the evening in Memorial Park unique and full."

To learn more about Shakespeare in the Park and other events, visit the Wheaton Park District website at wheatonparkdistrict.com. To learn more about Wheaton College's Arena Theater, visit wheaton.edu/Arena-Theater.

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