A whole lot of Shakespeare going on~

Oh.My.Gosh. Shakespeare fever.  Winona has it, and there is no cure except for a seat in the Performing Arts Center sometime in the next seven weeks or so. The cast from the Great River Shakespeare Festival has been out and about whetting the appetites of Winonans for their beloved festival, most recently at the Champagne and Chocolate event at the beautiful Alexander Mansion, and the tiny teases were enough to put Winona in an all-out frenzy.

Chocolate, Shakespeare and Champagne is a graceful soiree that plies would-be festival goers with, you guessed it, champagne and chocolate, while giving them a sneak peak at snippets from the upcoming plays. Set against the backdrop of the absolutely regal Alexander Mansion Bed and Breakfast, guests mingle with actors and other Shakespeare lovers while they nosh on dark chocolate and bubbly, and the event is supposed to raise a little money for the Winona County Historical Society and build momentum for the festival’s opening day.

People are so enamored with the Great River Shakespeare Festival they were willing to stand *in the rain* to watch previews of the plays. I’m going to hazard a guess that organizers could pretty much serve Hamm’s Beer and pretzels, or tap water in a Styrofoam cup, and people would still flock to this event. I’m telling you, it’s Shakespeare fever, and Winona’s got it bad.

If the Great River Shakespeare Festival plays were soccer teams, we’d all have jerseys of our favorite actors and fans would be fighting outside of the Performing Arts Center over whether Othello could take Egeon. Thankfully that’s not the case, because Winona’s police department doesn’t have time to deal with that kind of thing and frankly, it’s hard to fight in a dress. But if I had to, I’m totally down with Othello on that one.

Right now the cast and crew is in Tech Week for the productions, which translated means they are working night and day to put the finishing touches on every lighting, costume and performance detail. It’s a bone-tiring process – if you’re nice you should drop some cookies or energy drinks off at the Performing Arts Center for them this week, and if you see someone from the festival out and about give them a hug – they need it.

I got to sit through part of a rehearsal for The Comedy of Errors last week, and folks, this is going to be big. The set is cool and the performance was vibrant and funny and and and… Okay, I admit it, I’ve got the fever too, but I’m telling you, when you see a little bit of it you can’t help it. It’s very, very contagious and the only cure is to go to the plays. See you there – I’ll be the one with the Othello jersey on 🙂

Oh yeah, and if you like money, buy a GRSF button by the end of opening weekend. You could win $1,000, which is enough money to see an awful lot of plays. The button is lovely and worth $5 all by itself, but this year the Will’s Opening Weekend committee has attached a raffle to it that will give somebody a big pocket full of cash. And if you win, remember who told you about it…

And take a peek at this post again Monday to see some of the awesome pictures I took at last week’s rehearsal…

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