‘ They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.’ Act V, scene 1
Self-denial is in fashion at the court of Navarre where the young king and three of his courtiers solemnly forswear all pleasures in favour of serious study. But when the Princess of France and her entourage arrive, it isn’t long before the all-male ‘academe’ have broken every one of their self-imposed rules. Shakespeare’s boisterous send-up of all those who try to turn their back on life is a dazzling parade of every weapon in the youthful playwright’s arsenal, from excruciating cross-purposes and impersonations to drunkenness and bust-ups. It’s a banquet of language, groaning with puns, rhymes and grotesque coinages.
Director Nick Bagnall returns to Shakespeare’s Globe, having most recently directed our touring production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
‘In Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespeare gives us a fairy tale – ‘Once upon a time there was a king and he had three friends…’ The play is a discourse on art versus life. In order for stories to have value, they have to show us something that is real: such as a man falling in love and feeling confused about what love is and hating himself for feeling it. The melancholy within the play lies in the disparity between the story and the reality of life, with its unexpected turns and emotional mess.’