Love and hate, loyalty and treachery, good and evil; all themes that we are familiar with. Nearly 450 years ago, one single man would become the epitome of playwriting, sculpting these themes into 38 plays, 150 sonnets, plus additional works that have stood the test of time. Born in a medieval market town in England, William Shakespeare would eventually become widely-regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. These popular theme were interwoven with such beautiful language and texture that they have gone far from unnoticed since his death. His plays are to this day performed more than any other playwright. It seems that no matter the situation William Shakespeare’s works speak to audiences of all backgrounds.
Shakespeare’s characters are richly diverse so it’s no surprise that thespians use his works for farther character development and as inspiration for new works. For Danielle A. Festa, Shakespeare’s characters drew her in and she developed a love for his theatre and literature. Growing up in Orlando, FL, it was first in a Shakespeare acting class at age 14 where she was introduced to this exciting new world. Later, she acted in a production of Richard III at age 18, which only added fuel to the fire. For college, she got her BA in Theatre from Florida State University, where she was also given the opportunity to study abroad at the Theatre Academy in London. By studying iambic pentameter, she cultivated her love for the text and how it related to understanding the various characters’ journeys. She brings her love of Shakespeare and his language to directing this summer’s Shakespeare workshop production of Love’s Labour’s Lost.
In Love’s Labour’s Lost, The King of Navarre and his three lords have sworn off women, vowing to remain committed to their studies for three years. That, however, takes a turn for the hilarious when the Princess of France and her beautiful ladies arrive in town. Despite her extensive knowledge of Shakespeare, this is Festa’s first venture into the directing spotlight at Threshold Rep. On the acting side, she has been seen in both A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night at Threshold Rep, and was the dramaturge for Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. She has decided to take a more modern-day approach to this production, and believes that any Shakespeare play can have that luxury. In the case of Love’s Labour’s Lost, she comments that, “vows are sworn then loop holes sought, poems are written to win love. This show could lend itself to any time and place because it is about the one thing we all humans share, the use of language to get what we desire.”
As the saying goes, you never stop learning, and that's true for Festa. Starting in August, she'll be going back to school in Staunton, VA to start graduate work at Mary Baldwin College for Shakespeare and Performance. We wish her well as she continues her studies, and we can't wait to see her interpretation of Love's Labour's Lost come to life.