All Well That Ends Well I saw the play All’s Well That Ends Well at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. The theatre space was a three quarters thrust and the theatre was intimate allowing anyone to see just about anyone else in the theatre. The seating also allowed everyone no matter where you sat to get an up-close view of the action. Barbara Gaines who is a regular at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre directed the play. This theatre experience was very great for me, as I have seen very few plays before. To start off, the parts of the play I believed were strong was the year the director decided to have the play take place in.
In the 1860s, the outfits they wore were absolutely stunning. The women and men all looked very good and the distinguishment between the upper class and lower classes could be seen very well. Another nice asset about the 1860s is that the way the women were treated was much like the way they were treated in Shakespeare’s time. Another strong point of the play was the little use of props. The place they were at was easily distinguishable thanks to lights shining on the floor and the few sets that were used.
I believe big, elaborate sets get in the way of the acting and action. The best performances are the ones that are clear and use little props. The play accomplished just that. There was however one prop I did not like. They draped the floor at one point with this nasty 3-color sheet. I believe that was not necessary because I could stop staring at it and thinking how ugly it was.
The production made me feel a bit different than I thought I was going to feel. At first the play was slow, but the end was absolutely wonderful. The productions started with a great representation of how Helena and Bertram felt towards each other. It could be seen that Helena was extremely in love and Bertram did not want to marry Helena because he was not in love at all. In the end however I got a different impression than I did in the writings.
After I read the play, I was wondering what was going to happen after Bertram and Helena went home. After watching the play, I saw them dance and walk up to each other in the end. Bertram gave me the impression he was going to do all he could to love and live with this woman. I believe my production may have differed from the day the class went because my classmates did not feel this way. All and all, the play was most effective in pulling my feelings in and I found it most effective and grabbing.
There are various other things that also should be mentioned about the play. First and foremost is the cast that was chosen. I found the cast to be a great in some places and weak in others. I like the acting of Parolles to by far the best. The comic relief was presented wonderfully.
Helena was also very good. I found the way she looks to be great because she did not look beautiful and snotty, but cute and genuine. It should also be mentioned the king was absolutely wonderful and I believe they could not have found a better person for that role. On the other side, I thought Bertram could have been more handsome and less plain. I found his acting to be dull and incorrect whereas it should have been charming and cute. I did not see how Helena could have fallen in love with that man.
Another big disappointment was the woman who played Diana. I found her acting to be good, but I pictured her as this gorgeous woman than no man could resist. Another complaint to the cast of this production was the little use of minorities. There was only one African American and I believe that more minorities could have been used. The play was written for a white cast, however I think in this day we can look past that shallowness. Another point of this play I liked is how the actors entered and exited through the all parts of the stage.
It was more exciting when the cast would sometimes enter or exit through the isles of the crowd. Other parts of the play that I noticed were the extensive spitting and the lack of a scene. The spitting was a minor detail and was not noticed after about two or three scenes. On the other hand, one point of the play I did not like was the missing of a scene. We never actually saw Helena sleep with Bertram in this production. I found that left me confused at one point of the play.
I was expecting to see them have sex, but all of a sudden we were placed in the future. To sum up the play, I found it to be an excellent production. The play had my attention for all three hours and left you for the most part satisfied. The strong points included the majority of the cast that was chosen, the sets that were used, the time it was placed in, and the theatre itself. On the other hand, the play could have used more minorities in the cast, a scene with Helena and Bertram having sex, and a less tied up ending.
All and all, I found the play to be absolutely wonderful and the whole three hours somehow grabbed my complete attention and had my feelings moved.