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Author: John Moore

DENVER CENTER: Colorado Shakes pumping up the pulp this summer

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is bringing a little pulp fiction (not the movie) and a lot of Mad Max (the movie) to Boulder this summer. You know: Love, laughs, guts and gore – only often in the very same plays.

(Above: Paige Olson, Emelie O’Hara and Steven Cole Hughes in “Troilus and Cressida.” Photo: Jennifer M Koskinen.)

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is bringing a little pulp fiction (not the movie) and a lot of Mad Max (the movie) to Boulder this summer. You know: Love, laughs, guts and gore – only often in the very same plays.

In an era when many Shakespeare festival purveyors around the country are playing it safe by relying on an ever-dwindling list of about 10 sure-fire Bard box-office titles, Colorado Shakes is bucking the trend by offering up one of its most adventurous slates in years.

“We don’t want a Top-10 list of plays to explore,” fourth-year artistic director Timothy Orr said. “We want a Top-37 list.”

2015 was the biggest-selling season in the CSF’s now 59-year history, thanks to reliable attractions including Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V. This year is considerably more risky with the mythic Cymbeline and a feral, fever-pitched (and almost never produced) Troilus and Cressida. Even its safest title,The Comedy of Errors, is being presented with a major, gender-bending twist: The two romantic couples have been cast by actors of the opposite gender.

Orr says the gamble is working. Nearing the halfway point of the season, he said, “This season could very well pass last year” in ticket revenue.

“The season is pretty risky, not only in the titles we chose, but in where we chose to stage them,” added Orr, whose outdoor slate includes Troilus and Cressida in the 1,000-seat Mary Rippon Amphitheater – stories that are more challenging to market because they don’t fit neatly into the traditional Shakespeare categories of tragedy, comedy or history.

Read the full article here.