By Ajay Raj
There has been much ado this summer about the Davis Shakespeare Festival at the Veterans’ Memorial Theater. The stage will feature two productions by the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble: Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and the Broadway musical, “She Loves Me.”
The stage has been transformed into a vineyard for “Much Ado” and into a 1930s perfume shop for the musical. Both shows feature the same cast and play in repertory through Aug. 3. The full schedule can be found at www.shakespearedavis.org.
The Davis Shakespeare Ensemble is a nonprofit organization headed by Rob Salas and Gia Battista, whose main goal is to serve as a vital artistic resource for the people of Davis and the greater Sacramento region, as they produce Shakespeare’s works, modern classics, new works inspired by the classics and educational programs.
The theater itself is being put through its technical paces by a professional crew. The company has brought in professional designers who have paid close attention to all aspects of the space. The lights, sets and sound redesign allow the theater to come alive in a new way and, as “Much Ado About Nothing” and “She Loves Me” both feature live bands, the great aural properties of the theater will be heard.
The Veterans’ Memorial Theater, is also an intimate venue for lectures, book readings, business seminars, religious meetings or any other event that requires just a lectern and some lights. It also has a projector and screen on which family vacations or adventures, like mountain climbing, hiking or kayaking, can be shared with a few relatives or 325 of them, as that is the seating capacity of the theater.
There are ramps in the lobby to enable anyone in a wheelchair to get into the seating area and also an elevator on stage for anyone who needs to get on the stage and cannot negotiate the stairs. Technical support and guidance is available to anyone who needs it.
In July, the hustle and bustle of the professional designers, crew and actors will be joined by the comings and goings of children taking part in Davis Shakespeare Ensemble’s Camp Shakespeare. This camp has three sessions for participants ages 7-17 and is still open for sign-ups. Visit their website for more information regarding camp.
After this exciting summer at the Vets’, come November, we will be ready for the “Davis Children’s Nutcracker.” Applications for the holiday favorite will be available in the fall recreation guide coming out in September.
With 250 children and more than 50 volunteers, the “Davis Children’s Nutcracker” is the production for which the rest of year is a rehearsal. It is also an adorable way to end the year.
— Ajay Raj is the facilities coordinator for the city of Davis Community Services Department. Learn more about the department’s programs at www.cityofdavis.org.