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The Southern Shakespeare Festival brings crowds to Tallahassee's Cascades Park Amphitheater

Four costumed actors move to and fro between white columns.
Robert Howard
Southern Shakespeare Company
The masked ball scene in "Much Ado About Nothing."

The Southern Shakespeare Festival was in full flower over the weekend. Although nasty weather forced the cancellation of Friday’s performance, Cascades Park was full of fans on the evenings of Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

For the final two nights, the young peoples’ troupe called “The Bardlings” kicked off the evening with a condensed version of a famous Shakespeare tragedy.

”For there never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

That was followed by the main attraction by the adult troupe, the rollicking comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.””

"For I have many ill qualities.” “Oh, which is one?” “I say my prayers aloud!” “I love you the better, though the Hero may cry, ‘Amen!’”

Seasoned Southern Shakes actor Phil Croton played “Leonato” and noted the plot lines were somewhat similar to modern TV sitcoms.

“Misunderstandings and deceptions and people not opening up to their own feelings. So it’s very ‘soapy’ and the subplots aren’t that nasty and dark. Except of course for my poor daughter, but that’s another story.”

Leonato’s daughter “Hero” has to fake her death in order to stay alive. This year’s guest star was comedian Kevin McDonald from “Kids in the Hall.”

“Everyone’s amazing! They’re real actors, which makes me feel bad I’m with them. For their sake!” he chuckled.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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