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Author: Mike Sandrock

DAILY CAMERA: Marathon training helps Wendy Franz keep Shakespeare running

(Above: Wendy Franz, managing director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival working with actors from CSF’s 2016 rehearsal of “Equivocation”)

Standing in the back of the rehearsal room on the University of Colorado campus last Wednesday evening, Wendy Franz watched intently as Julius Caesar (Robert Sicular) spoke in an aside to Antony (Christopher Joel Onken), referencing the group of Roman senators standing in a semicircle near them.

“Let me have men about me that are fat,” Sicular says as Caesar. “Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look …”

What pleasure! I had followed Franz, a marathon runner and managing director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, to a rehearsal of “Julius Caesar.”

We came in just before those all-time favorite lines that struck me as indicative of runners when first hearing them years ago. Cassius’ “lean and hungry look” — “He reads much. He is a great observer” — sums up runners, don’t you think?

Those with energy and a hunger for life, eschewing the comfortable, “fat” path because, as Shakespeare tells us, the comfortable life is not always the most fruitful.

Franz is one of those lean and hungry runners, energetically creating her own way.

 When she was in high school taking Advanced Placement English back in Bishop, Calif., Franz studied Shakespeare and was immediately hooked. She was on the cross country team then and remains a runner now, and as I trailed her through campus on a very hot morning last week, it was clear that those two passions complement each other in a way that exemplifies the spirit and vitality of Shakespeare and the CU-based festival, which opened its 60th season June 11.

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