Al fresco summer performances of Shakespeare plays finally arrive in Laguna next month. British-born rocker Jason Feddy and actor John Gardiner, both Laguna locals, will expand on “Shakespeare’s Fool,” the off-beat and wildly successful production of the Bard’s sonnets and plays set to music in Friday evening shows in the Heisler Park amphitheater.
In its expanded format, “Shakespeare’s Fool” follows on the heels of Sunset Serenades, held at the same location at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays throughout May.
In June, Feddy and his band, bassist Alan Deremo and drummer Bryan Head, join Gardiner and an expanded cast on the open air stage. Feddy’s wife Ava Burton enlisted fellow thespians from Los Angeles’ Neo Ensemble Theatre to join in. They will perform a carefully assembled repertoire of Shakespeare songs and speeches.
“Our scripts won’t be exactly the same every week. We will mix and match different speeches and combinations of materials every week,” said Feddy, emphasizing that scripts have not been completely fine-tuned yet.
Audiences can look forward to “Sigh No More My Lady,” a 16th century version of “Stand by Your Man,” rendered from a male point of view and condensable into “get over it.” “All that Glitters is Not Gold,” from “The Merchant of Venice” accompanied by speeches like “If Music is the Food of Love, Play On.”
It turns out the “Shakespeare’s Fool” ensemble performed two years ago on Main Beach, which received surprising acclaim, according to Feddy. “The music and the lines seemed to speak to people. There’s something timeless for everyone once people get into it,” he recalled.
His own bluesy musical renditions and Gardiner’s deft articulation of Shakespeare’s script in a manner comprehensible to modern ears played a part as well. At the Legion Theatre, he plausibly transposed “To Be or Not To Be” from Hamlet’s castle to the smoky lair of a Cosa Nostra consigliore.
Feddy, also known for his Beatles tribute shows at the Festival of Art in summer and gigs at Mozambique restaurant, closes out Serenades on May 25 accompanied by John Troy. Feddy also serves as music impresario for this series and previous Sunset Serenades, suggesting music and performers to the Arts Commission, which approves all programming.
“I like to be part of the Laguna community. As a performer and writer I try to be useful rather than just another wailing ego maniac,” he said.
Sunset Serenades, 6:30 p.m., May 18, at Picnic Beach, and 25, in Heisler amphitheater.
Shakespeare’s Fool, 6:30-9 p.m. June 1, 8, 15, 22
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