The Moving Company Recreates Love's Labour's Lost

The Moving Company brings Shakespeare's early play Love's Labour's Lost to the Lab Theater starting this week. While it retains the title, you won't find much of the original play inside.

Instead, the fast-paced production includes lines from all 37 of Shakespeare's plays, from the romance of As You Like It to the tragedy of King Lear to the whatever-the-hell-it-is of Titus Andronicus.

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The idea dates back to the last days of Theatre de la Jeune Lune. After the company folded in 2008, "we shelved the idea," says Dominique Serrand, one of the instrumental members of both Jeune Lune and the Moving Company, and the director/designer of Love's Labour's Lost.

The idea stuck with the members of the company, who produced work on their own and, eventually, as the Moving Company. It took a meeting between Nathan Keepers and Les Waters of the Actors Theatre of Louisville to finally bring the concept back to life.

"I went out to dinner with him, and said that we wanted to do Love's Labour's Lost. He said, 'That's a horrible play,'" Keepers says.

From the beginning, the idea was to strip away much of Love's Labour's Lost, leaving just the basics of the plot, and fill the space with lines from lovers in other Shakespeare plays.

That sparked Waters's interests, who booked the show in ATL's fall season. As the idea finally had a home, the creators had to spend time scouring the works of Shakespeare searching for the lines that provided the right emotions, but also retained the distinct meter and rhymes of Elizabethan theater.

And even that didn't always work once the actors started to practice. "It is one thing to read Shakespeare and another thing to act in it. It takes a while to find out how to play it," says Steven Epp, who created the show with Keepers and Serrand.

And there was the concept of including a bit of everything in the text. Most of the outside material comes from about a dozen shows, but as they examined what they had, the creators realized they could go for the full set.

"We made [Shakespeare] steal from himself," Keepers says.

After the show's successful run in Louisville, the Moving Company looked to produce it on their home turf. With the help of a $25,000 Kickstarter campaign, they were able to relocate to the Lab for the next month.

"It's a quite unknown play. It has a very simple set-up," Serrand says.

That set-up is that, after a war, our male heroes go for a monastic life, away from the influence of women. Of course, love springs up -- but will the couples be able to get together?

"It's one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. You can see the start of the poetic riffs that he developed more fully later on," Epp says.

"The whole piece is an homage to love. The fact that it starts with defeat was something profoundly contemporary," Serrand adds.


Love's Labour's Lost Friday through December 21 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays The Lab Theater 700 First St. N., Minneapolis $22-$32 For tickets and more information, call 612-333-3377 or visit online.