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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Ninth Annual Oxford Shakespeare Festival Opens June 15

She loves him, he loves her not. She loves him, he loves her, now.

William Shakespeare’s “All’s Well that Ends Well” kicks off the 2012 Oxford Shakespeare Festival at 7:30 p.m. Friday (June 15) in the Gertrude C. Ford Center at the University of Mississippi.

This summer marks the ninth season for the festival, which has been dubbed “A Season of Destiny,” artistic director Joe Turner Cantu said. “All’s Well that Ends Well,” is the first of three productions, which also includes “King Lear,” opening June 23, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s popular musical “The Sound of Music,” opening June 28. Tickets are available by calling 662-915-7411 or by visiting the UM Box Office in the Student Union from noon to 4 p.m. “We are proud to continue the tradition of summer theatre at the University of Mississippi and in Oxford,” said Cantu, UM associate professor of theatre arts. “The festival was created with the public in mind and we truly hope you will join us as we celebrate theatre in Mississippi.”

“All’s Well that Ends Well,” directed by Felipe Macias, is a comedy about unrequited love. When Bertram abandons Helena on their wedding night, Helena sets out on a pilgrimage, only to wind up in Florence, Italy, where she meets Bertram’s mistress, Diana. In a perplexing “bed trick,” Helena, pretending to be Diana, sleeps with Bertram. Later, Bertram matured by war, consents to happily love Helena and their future child.

“Set against a background of sexism, snobbery and a battle between the generations, Shakespeare’s wondrous, bittersweet story turns fairy tale logic on its head in this comedy wrapped in a romance,” Cantu said.

Performances of “All’s Well that Ends Well” are set for the Ford Center studio theatre at 7:30 p.m. June 15, 16 and 22 and July 6 and 7; and at 2 p.m. June 17 and 30 and July 8. Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors/students/youth.

“King Lear,” considered Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy and one of his greatest works, is the tale of a king who descends into madness after foolishly dividing his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, thus bringing about tragic consequences to all.

“King Lear,” directed by Cantu, will be performed at the Ford Center main stage at 7:30 p.m. June 23 and 29, and at 2 p.m. June 24. Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors/students/youth.

“The Sound of Music” is the tale of Maria, a failed nun whose Mother Superior sends her off to be governess for a retired naval captain’s seven children. She goes to their house and finds that she is the latest in a long line of governesses run off by the children. She teaches the children to sing and that becomes their bonding force, of course leading her to fall in love with their father and marry him.

Julia Aubrey, associate artistic director for the OSF and assistant chair of UM’s Department of Music, directs Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic story, which includes “a nice array of community, faculty, students and alumni performers,” she said.

“Not only is ‘The Sound of Music’ one of the most popular musicals ever, and my favorite, it’s an opportunity for the entire community to get involved and get an exciting musical theater experience. The leads are fantastic and it’s going to be a great show,” said Aubrey, UM associate professor of music and director of opera theatre.

“The Sound of Music” will be performed on the Ford Center main stage at 7:30 p.m. June 28 and 30, and at 2 p.m. July 1. Tickets are $18 for all seating levels. Robert Aubrey, instructional assistant professor of music at Ole Miss, is orchestra conductor.