When Shake & Bake Theatre‘s Amy Kaissar contacted me about shooting their production of Love’s Labour’s Lost, I jumped at the chance. How could a modern take on Love’s Labour’s Lost, performed while the cast prepares and serves an eight course meal, not be a great idea?
Of course, then we started talking about the logistics of shooting the play. Love’s Labour’s Lost is staged in an intimate room where the audience sits around the perimeter. The action is therefore 360º. The cast has several entrance and exit points, from which they are often carrying trays of food. In a nutshell, shooting this play was not going to be easy — especially since I hadn’t seen it or even seen the space.
The Friday before the invited dress rehearsal that we had planned to shoot, I went up to New York, met up with my old friend Jimmy Ferguson (of JWJ Films, who agreed to shoot with me), and watched a rehearsal of the play. We also ate. Remember, the cast prepares and serves an eight course meal that includes cocktails and wine.
What we saw was a truly inventive and hilarious production Love’s Labour’s Lost that was true to its Shakespearean roots. The cast was amazing, the lighting was great, the musical interludes added comical flair, while also advancing the plot, and the food theme pervades the entire production. There’s even a fight scene where the three bachelors attack each other with giant kitchen implements (see the short video of that scene below). And the cast constantly interacts with the audience. To say you should see this play is a statement of the ridiculous obvious.
If we hadn’t seen the play ahead of time, it would have been impossible to shoot. We went with four cameras — two unmanned, two manned. And it was a challenge. But it was great.
I want to thank Jimmy Ferguson for shooting with me. And I want to the folks at Shake & Bake for a great opportunity to collaborate on a great project. And, if you’re in New York, go see the play. Maybe Shake & Bake will work on a production of Titus Andronicus next. We’ll see!