Shakespeare returns to Bell Buckle this year
Sunday, April 5, 2009
By Mary Reeves
„Unfortunately, I’ve lost my Wall.“
No, actor-director-producer Lane Davies isn’t homeless –he’s just Wall-less. Joey Waldrop, the 7-foot-tall gentle giant who played „Snout“ and „Wall“ in last summer’s production of „A Midsummer Night’s Dream,“ won’t be coming back.
„He’s working at Disney World in the Indiana Jones show,“ said Davies.
But wait — does that mean the other actors who brought the Bard to Bell Buckle are returning?
As far as Davies is concerned, the answer is „Yes.“
Despite tough economic times, some diligent fundraising, perseverance, and an anonymous „angel“ have worked to bring the Tennessee Shakespeare Festival back to Middle Tennessee, and so far, said Davies, the prospects look good. In fact, he’s planning two productions this year, with the classic tragedy „Romeo and Juliet“ following this year’s revival of „Midsummer Night’s Dream.“
Production dates for „Midsummer“ are tentatively set for June 26-28 and July 3-5. „Romeo and Juliet“ will be July 10-12 and July 16-19.
„We’re excited,“ said Davies, who has been teaching Henry V to students at Webb in recent weeks. „It just feels right.“
He admits the prospect of producing a pair of plays is daunting, but he’s confident in his cast and crew, most of whom were here last year.
„Turning the set around is a little bit of a challenge,“ said Davies. „We’ve only got four days between the closing of one show and the opening of the other, but the infrastructure won’t change that much.“
„Midsummer“ sets the classic Shakespeare comedy in the Old South during the Great Depression, complete with a decaying, vine-covered plantation house. „Romeo and Juliet“ will also be taken out of Elizabethan England and into the frontier days of America, to the time just after the French and Indian War.
„Everybody has seen ‚Romeo and Juliet‘ in one form or another,“ said Davies. „I thought it would freshen it up. I think Romeo and Juliet will go over well.“
A native of Dalton, Ga., Davies‘ own Southern roots run deep. He earned a degree in speech and theater at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro before heading to New York, then Hollywood, where a career awaited. He’s had multiple roles on television and in movies, his first appearance being a one-shot on „CHiPs.“ The role that has earned him fans around the world — especially in Russia — was that of „Mason Capwell,“ on the soap „Santa Barbara.“ He appeared in the daytime dramas „Days of Our Lives,“ „The Bold and the Beautiful“ and „General Hospital.“ He’s made several made-for TV movies, including „The Magic of Lassie,“ and has had guest spots on several shows, such as „Scrubs.“
But his first love has been the stage. He’s performed Shakespeare with the Santa Susana Repertory company and the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival in Thousand Oaks, Calif., as well as in Georgia, and now to Tennessee. He played Oberon in „Midsummer Night’s Dream“ — and will this year as well — and has also taken on the roles of Hamlet, Macbeth, Petruchio, Henry V, Shylock, King Lear, Richard III, and Cyrano de Bergerac. He may also take on the role of the Prince in „Romeo and Juliet.“
„I like doing the prologue and epilogue,“ he confessed.
Shortly after closing „Midsummer“ last year, Davies went into rehearsals for the Sondheim musical „Sweeney Todd,“ in which he had the lead.
„It almost killed me!“ Davies laughed. „The brilliant set was like a living thing — it tried to eat me. Between that and the Sondheim score …“
But, he admitted, „I had a great time!“
The show sold out every night.
After the hard work and actor-eating sets, coming back to Bell Buckle and putting on two plays in one month might seem daunting, but definitely doable — and Davies is eager to make it happen again.
IF YOU GO
‚A Midsummer Night’s Dream‘ is tentatively set for June 26-28 and July 3-5 and ‚Romeo and Juliet‘ July 10-12 and 16-19 at the Tennessee Shakespeare Festival in Bell Buckle.
© Copyright 2009, Shelbyville Times-Gazette
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