Love’s Labour’s Lost Announced as 2016 ‘Shakespeare on the Common’ Production

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company will tackle multiple facets of love throughout the upcoming season.

shakespeare on the common 2016

Photo courtesy of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

We all know Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet and King Lear. But in comparison with Shakespeare’s famous tragedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost, an early comedic work by the playwright, is relatively obscure.

Next summer, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company will bring the rarely staged work to light, presenting it as the 2016 production of “Shakespeare on the Common,” an annual series of free outdoor performances in the heart of Boston.

The play presents four eligible young men who have sworn off the company of women. But, of course, they then encounter four eligible young women, and cat-and-mouse courting games ensue.

Love’s Labour’s Lost for me is about growing up, about leaving behind adolescent attitudes towards love and gaining an understanding of the power and responsibility of loving another person,” said Steven Mahler, the company’s founding artistic director. “Though it’s an early play, it has terrific language and indelible characters. Many of the themes, characters, and situations in the play are explored in Shakespeare’s later plays, so you get to see the young Shakespeare at work in Love’s Labour’s Lost.”

Other works featured in the company’s upcoming season, which was announced by Mahler and Mayor Marty Walsh at a press conference earlier today, will tackle other facets of love, from naiveté to jealousy to struggles in marriage.

“[Love’s Labour’s Lost] became an anchor for the 2016 season as we explore refractions and reflections on the enigmatic, magical, and effervescent mystery of love,” said Mahler.

The company’s season will kick off in March with Othello, presented at the Sorenson Center for the Arts at Babson College, where the troupe is the theater-in-residence. In April, it will present Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden, as part of a script-in-hand series that will feature Pedro Pascal, who played Horatio in the 2005 production of Hamlet and currently stars in Netflix’s Narcos.

In May, a cohort of young professional actors, who will have trained and performed with the company for six months, will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and at the end of the season, following “Shakespeare on the Common,” the company with collaborate with Boston Landmarks Orchestra on a celebration at the DCR’s Memorial Hatch Shell in August.