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The Real Housewives of Shakespeare (06/03/2012)
By Frances Edstrom

Five days a week, I am on the computer — e-mail, checking websites, doing research, editing. So in my off-time, I’m more than likely going to be reading newspapers and books or doing crossword puzzles. But every now and then, someone will post something on my Facebook page (I never post. The only reason I signed up was to get pictures and news of my grandchildren!) that I look at. Often it’s something on YouTube.

If you don’t know what YouTube is, it’s a site you can go to to watch short videos of as many activities as there are known on earth. I’ve seen a woman arguing with her husband about whether a car going 40 m.p.h. would take an hour to go forty miles (she didn’t think so). I’ve watched babies cry and laugh. I’ve watched talking dogs. I even watched one featuring a pet dust bunny.

I received an e-mail from the Great River Shakespeare Festival, and several of my friends, suggesting I watch a YouTube presentation called “The Real Housewives of Shakespeare.” I’m always eager to watch anything produced by GRSF, so I clicked to watch.

The short video features Goneril, King Lear’s oldest daughter, who has invited some of Shakespeare’s other “housewives” over for a dinner party. We see the evil Goneril, the evil Lady Macbeth, the evil Gertrude — Queen of Denmark in Hamlet, Titania — Queen of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and poor little Juliet from Romeo and Juliet, all arguing at Goneril’s dinner table over who is the best female character in Shakespeare’s plays.

You only have to be vaguely familiar with the television series The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Shakespeare’s plays to get the joke. GRSF actresses — Kim McKean, Tarah Flanagan, Stephanie Lambourn, Kate Fonville and Amanda Weener — who are familiar to playgoers here, star in the video, and they are hilarious. Watching it made me want to see this summer’s plays RIGHT NOW.

It’s just a taste of the professional talent that we have in Winona right now. Talent that comes from New York, Los Angeles, and in between, and is in rehearsal for this season’s plays — The Two Gentlemen of Verona—a comedy, King Lear—a tragedy, and The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (abridged)—a parody of Shakespeare, and hilariously comic. The season opens with WOW (Will’s Opening Weekend) on June 22 and runs through August 5. Free preview shows are available for King Lear and Complete Works. The $10 Tuesdays are nearly full, as is the July 6 Chill with Will performance for students.

You just have to get tickets. This is top of the charts entertainment that will have you rolling in the aisles or crying horrified tears. There’s no in between with this troupe.

Call for tickets at 507-474-7900 or order online at grsf.org. Don’t let another season rush past you! 


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