Shakespeare in the Vines will return in June to Temecula wine country for its eagerly-awaited seventh season.
The summer series has expanded to three shows this year: “The Complete History of America (abridged),” by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, William Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” and famed history play “Richard III.”
“We are so excited to bring such a diverse series to Temecula wine country,” said Sheila Havens-Ryle, founder and artistic director of Shakespeare in the Vines. “We are also so grateful to our wonderful wineries for hosting us. They give up part of their wedding season for us and we could not do it without them.”
Shakespeare in the Vines is known for staging plays in unique settings and the newly-constructed patio area at Europa Village Winery will provide just such a backdrop for the madcap comedy “The Complete History of America (abridged).”
“This is a three-man show with a tag line ‘600 years of history in 6000 seconds,’ so it’s fitting that it runs through election week,” Havens-Ryle said. “Expect a scramble of costume changes, character changes and other silliness. Never has history or politics been this hilarious.”
“Merchant of Venice,” a tale of aspiration, love and revenge will be staged on the plaza at the newly-remodeled Van Roekel Winery.
“We are thrilled to have returning player John Leon (perform) as Shylock,” said Havens-Ryle, who will also direct the play. “He is a true professional and the audience will be gripped by his portrayal of this character so steadfast in his desire for revenge.”
Havens-Ryle added: “We’re going to deliver a straightforward “Merchant,” and be true to its very, very good story. It will be presented in the Venetian Renaissance period.”
The season will finish at Callaway Vineyards and Winery with Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” a dark tale of a returning war hero on a crusade for power that leaves countless victims.
“We’re going with a slightly different take on Richard,” said the play’s director Patrick Brien, who is also the executive director of the Riverside Arts Council. “Traditionally, he is played with varying degrees of physical challenges. Where we’re going with it is to make his disabilities stem from battle rather than birth and to reduce their significance. Where they are most significant is within his own mind. The image he has of himself is what is twisted. It has created a deep hatred for the society which he feels has shunned him.”
All three host venues will have food and beverages, including wine available for purchase, so no outside food or drink will be permitted.
Food for the Van Roekel Winery must be purchased in advance.
For more information on show dates and times and to purchase tickets, please visit: www.shakespeareinthevines.org.
Corie Maue is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.