Rick #ONSCENE with Victoria Rae Sook from Shake & Bake Theatre’s ‘Love's Labour's Lost’
Why did you decide to include an eight-course meal as part of the performance of this Shakespeare comedy?
The idea was actually born out of a restaurant opening my co-creators and I attended. As we looked around at people being served meals, we noticed how beautiful food and delicious wine led to joy and laughter, and we knew that there had to be a way to integrate food into formal, artistic storytelling. We wanted food to be a part of the show, not just an afterthought. Each course is specifically in line with the action of what is happening on stage and is very much a part of the plot.
Why choose this Shakespeare comedy to perform?
We loved the idea of courtship and food as a part of it. This play is very romantic and people share meals when they go on dates with one another. We also liked the idea of the men of Navarre swearing off food and then serving it to the audience. Who wouldn’t love the ladies of France serving the audience some French wine?
The performance space is intimate and really gives me romantic vibes. Is this show meant to emphasize love and romance?
Not exactly. It is meant to emphasize comfort and any kind of love. Our first production of this show took place in an apartment and was a very intimate space. It was so cozy and felt like home. Well, it was my home... But, more to the point, there was a charm and magic to the space that made you feel welcome. Then the theatre happened and there was a sort of magic to it. It was only natural that the lovers fell in love because we were all so comfortable and warm. The production designer, Shawn Lewis, was really true to our roots in that way. The show is meant to have that magic and warmth.
What’s your favorite part of playing the Princess of France?
I love redefining the word ‘Princess.’ I feel like people often give it a bad connotation and make it synonymous with being weak or too feminine to function. I love being a Princess who is smart enough to conduct negotiations with another country, badass enough to shoot a bow and arrow and win the deer hunt, sassy enough to play a prank on the men of Navarre, and who does it all in hot-pink lipstick and rhinestone earrings.
How does this production engage modern-day audiences in ways that traditional Shakespeare mountings don’t?
This show has a true sense of play. Sometimes Shakespeare done in a more formal setting loses an audience for lack of play. We get a little silly at times and bring everyone with us, groundlings and all.
Do you ever get hungry during the show?
Absolutely! Our chef, David Goldman, is a genius and the food is so tempting. I am always hoping there is extra — especially of the mac and cheese.
This show isn’t cheap. What do you want to say to those interested in seeing the show but put off by the price tag?
If you think of date night — even just dinner and a movie — we are truly a deal. You are getting two drinks, the meal and the show included in the ticket price. It just seems like a high price because you are paying for it all at once instead of three separate bills.