The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Jul 27-Aug 7, 2022

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

'Tis pity love should be so contrary.

Friend or foe? While traveling abroad in Northern Italy, best friends Valentine and Proteus find themselves at odds over the same girl, putting their fidelity to the test. In "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," Shakespeare delivers a charming adventure complete with romantic intrigue, disorderly servants and a band of honorable outlaws.

Since 1958, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival has delighted audiences with professional theatre on the CU Boulder campus. Complete your Colorado summer with Shakespeare under the stars in the historic Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre—complimentary seatbacks included.

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Weather policy

Attending an outdoor show in the Boulder foothills can be unpredictable. Come prepared to enjoy the adventure by reviewing our weather policy and attire suggestions. Learn more

Performance dates and times

Wednesday, July 27, 7 p.m.  $22-$69
Thursday, July 28, 7 p.m.  $22-$69
Wednesday, Aug. 3, 7 p.m.  $22-$69
Thursday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m.  $22-$69
Sunday, Aug. 7, 7 p.m.  $31-$86

View full CSF 2022 calendar

Buying options

Save big with season tickets! This show is available in the Full, Pick 2 or 3, Weekday Will, and Choice Option packages or as an add-on to other season ticket orders. Learn more

Single ticket discounts are available for preview night, groups (10+), youth (K-12), seniors (65+), students, active military and CU employees. Volunteer ushers get to see the show for free. Learn more

More about the show

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Plot synopsis

Lifelong best friends Valentine and Proteus must part ways. Valentine leaves home in Verona to pursue a life of adventure in Milan, accompanied by his servant Speed, while Proteus stays behind to be near his beloved Julia. After Valentine’s departure, Proteus’ relatives encourage him to follow his friend and make something of himself in Milan. Proteus and Julia say their goodbyes, but not before sealing their engagement with a ring and a solemn oath. Joined by the clownish Launce and a canine companion named Crab, Proteus departs for Milan.

In Milan, despite earlier pronouncements against love, Valentine is unexpectedly smitten with the Duke’s daughter Silvia. She’s engaged to her father’s favorite, Thurio, but secretly agrees to wed Valentine. When Proteus arrives in Milan, however, he also becomes infatuated with Silvia, forgetting his loyalty to Julia and Valentine. Proteus betrays his best friend by revealing Valentine and Silvia’s clandestine elopement plans to the Duke, which results in Valentine’s banishment and Silvia’s confinement. With Valentine out of the way, Proteus attempts to win Silvia over. Meanwhile, Julia disguises herself as a male page (“Sebastian”) and arrives in Milan. Proteus hires “Sebastian” to woo Silvia on his behalf.

Silvia flees captivity in search of Valentine, with her father and her two unwanted suitors, Thurio and Proteus, in swift pursuit. Silvia is captured by a group of exiled outlaws in the forest, then “rescued” by Proteus, who attempts to take Silvia by force. The banished Valentine, now the newly minted leader of the outlaws, intervenes to protect Silvia. Valentine first denounces his friend, then, at Proteus’ remorse, forgives him. Julia reveals herself, and Proteus’ love for her is restored.

The Duke forgives Valentine’s deception and approves of the marriage to Silvia. At Valentine’s request, the Duke permits the banished outlaws to rejoin society. All enemies are reconciled, friends forgiven, and relationships are (mostly) restored. 

—Amanda Giguere, dramaturg

Director's note

Look for The Hook. That’s the first thing I do with a play. Before I get involved with actors and designers, I look for The Hook: the thing in the story that really grabs me on a personal level. In this play, I found it right there in the first speech. It’s that fierce, lifelong friendship between Valentine and Proteus. These guys are young, but their friendship feels old, like it stretches back to childhood, school days, first crushes, heartbreaks, failures and successes (the agonies and the ecstasies, as it were). I have a friendship like that. It’s been a long, rich, rewarding trip, but there have been times—I’m sure she’d agree—when the road has been… rocky.

As our play begins, we catch the eponymous Two Gentlemens’ friendship on the brink of its first real crisis: separation. Facing that dilemma is a huge first step on the path to maturity. Do I venture out into the world and make my way? Or do I stay home and claim my spot? And what happens to our friendship? We faced it too, my dear friend and I. Like Valentine, I chose to leave my hometown for college, travel, career, new horizons. My friend chose to stay home and made an equally distinct life there, as the proverbial pillar of her community. And just as we feared, the bond was broken. We got busy. We drifted. Feelings were hurt. We both had a lot of growing up to do. But then, years later, a tragic event brought us back together, the bond re-formed, and now we feel more like family than friends. To paraphrase Dr. King, the arc of friendship is long, but it bends (if it doesn’t break) toward love, acceptance, wisdom…

Proteus and Valentine certainly have some adventures in this play. They both fall in love. Go out on their own. Meet new people and forge new relationships. One even becomes something akin to a pirate, for goodness’ sake! And their bond is tested. Big time. They, too, have a lot of growing up to do. But ultimately, despite profound betrayal and a breach of trust, they find forgiveness. And I like to hope that it’s this forgiveness—maybe the most supreme act of maturity—that propels them forward to love, acceptance and wisdom.

Oh, and did I mention there’s a bit with a dog?

—Carolyn Howarth, Director for The Two Gentlemen of Verona