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Provo’s Castle Amphitheatre opens with two Shakespeare plays

By Genelle Pugmire - | Jul 7, 2022

Courtesy Kathy Curtiss

Cast of Macbeth rehearse for next week's summer opening at the Castle Amphitheatre in Provo

Situated on the far eastern end of Center Street in Provo, behind the Utah State Hospital, is a fortress, a castle of sorts that comes to life every summer. Its esplanade is adorned with actors and story tellers that bring the old rock facility to life.

Beginning next week, the Renaissance Now Theatre & Film’s 2022 will begin its season, which includes a Festival in Repertory of two beloved Shakespeare plays.

Opening at the Castle Amphitheatre July 15 and 16, and playing through July 23, is “Much Ado About Nothing.” This is a contemporary piece directed by M. Chase Grant, placing the action in Korea during the Korean War and focusing on members of the 1623 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

The cast includes: Liz Golden as Beatrice, Jeff Denison as Benedick, Adam Argyle as the Don, M. Chase Grant as Leonato, Olympia Pead as Hero and Anton Moss as Claudio. Comics include Stephano Puertas, Mason Tarwater, Michael Hess, Zach Ballard, Casey Copier, Amy Carlin, Seven Harrison and Lucy Golden.

This group of repertory actors shares the season with “MacBeth,” directed by Kathy Curtiss. The placement of the “merry war” of “Much Ado About Nothing,” and the contrast to the war for power in “MacBeth,” complement each other and the summer repertory season.

The titular character in “MacBeth” is played by Zachary Ballard, Lady MacBeth by Mira Kocherans, Marvin Payne plays the noble King Duncan, Casey Copier and Seven Harrison, the doomed King’s son’s, Adam Argyle and Olympia Pead play Lord and Lady MacDuff, and the Witches by Seven Harrison, Olympia Pead, & Amy Carlin, Abby Tarwater. The supporting Lords, which go off text to provide humor and commentary for the mounting events, are played by Mason Tarwater, Stephano Puertas, and Gavin Henry. The strong arm of war is shown through the daring fight direction of Matthew Carlin with double-handed Broadsword battles and individual contests.

“The versatile setting, designed by Janice Chan, supporting both the contemporary MASH unit and the Scottish play’s castle-like ruins, heightens contemplation of the resonance of war in our time. There is much laughter and passion in both productions,” Kathy Curtiss said.

Curtiss specifically thanked the UVU Theatre Department for their efforts, along with specific backstage workers. She thanked Chris Olsen, stage manager; Rebecca Nibley, costume consultant; Brooke Grant and Gavin Henry, props and assistant direction; and Rychard Curtiss, light and sound direction.

The Festival plays at the Castle Theatre, located at 1300 E. Center Street. The Castle is open this season, following two years of COVID-19 restrictions. The shows play nightly, in repertory July 15-23, except on Sunday.

“MacBeth” opens July 16, and plays on the July 19, 21 and 23. “Much Ado About Nothing” opens July 15, and plays July 18, 20 and 22.

House opens at 7:30 p.m. and patrons are advised to bring blankets or chairs. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Admission is: $15 General, $10 Student/Senior and $30 for a group of five.

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