Star-struck: No lost Labour at the Vineyard

Fourteen. That’s the number of summers the Four County Players have been bringing a dose of the Bard of Avon to local audiences. This year’s production, Love’s Labour’s Lost, is directed by Betsy Rudelich Tucker, a professor in the drama department at UVA, and there are a couple of very good reasons to get your tickets for one of the performances right away.
There’s the somewhat bizarre summer fascination with producing Shakespeare’s plays outdoors. That happens all over the country. From Oregon to Texas to Florida, some well-meaning theater company is coercing local performers to don layers and layers of Elizabethan-inspired clothing and sweat through one of the Bard’s witty comedies or over-the-top tragedies. You wouldn’t want to miss your opportunity to participate in the tradition, would you?
And then there’s the real draw: the setting. Four County Players has partnered with Barboursville Vineyards to put on a show that’s worthy of a good picnic and a good bottle of wine. Performances take place at the ruins of Governor Barbour’s mansion, a beautiful setting for al fresco dining and a star-lit stage.
If you like, you can pack your own supper and bring it along. But if you’re in a pinch, you can reserve a buffet meal 48 hours in advance and enjoy it once you arrive. There’s a caveat: Any alcohol has to come from the Barboursville wine collection– but that’s no real problem. It’s readily available for purchase.
Love’s Labour’s Lost is one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies in which ill-considered promises soon give way to youthful passions. “The play follows the antics of the King of Navarre and his four courtiers who all swear an oath to scholarship, fasting, sleep deprivation, and avoiding contact with women for three years,” summarizes Bob Lake, part of the publicity team for the production. You can imagine the complications that arise when the princess of France arrives with her band of fair maidens in tow.
You’ll probably laugh a lot. And if not, well, you’ve got the wine and the stars.

Love's Labour's Lost plays weekends July 25-August 17. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8pm; Sunday performances begin at 6:30pm with gates opening 90 minutes before show time for picnicking spectators. $13-16. Catered box meals available by reservation for $12. Barboursville Vineyards, 17655 Winery Road, Barboursville. 540-832-5355.