The Austin Chronicle

Austin Shakespeare Festival: Raising the Curtain for ASF

By Robert Faires, May 4, 2007, Arts

The Austin Shakespeare Festival called its recent performance on a scaled-down replica of the Globe Theatre a "dream come true." Now, it appears that the dream lives on forever. Richard Garriott, the gaming guru who had that Elizabethan stage built on his West Austin estate and gave ASF permission to present As You Like It there recently, has now invited the company to perform at his Curtain Theater on a regular basis. Garriott caught a performance of As You Like It on Easter and was so impressed by ASF's "professionalism, artistry, and excitement" and the "joy and excitement reflected in the eyes of hundreds of other audience members" that he felt "the Curtain was the perfect venue for ASF and the important work they offer the Central Texas community." This won't affect the company's annual free presentation of Shakespeare in Zilker Park. (The next such production – an original compendium of scenes, sonnets, songs, and soliloquies titled Will Power: Your Imaginary Forces – runs May 19-27, and in the interest of full disclosure, this writer is involved in the show.) However, ASF Artistic Director Guy Roberts hopes to mount the rest of ASF's productions at the Curtain.

The company makes its first appearance at its new theatrical home this Saturday with a benefit performance of As You Like It to make up for the show that was axed April 7 when the weather was not as you or anyone liked it. In addition to the performance, ASF will host a silent auction that features a signed Al Hirschfeld lithograph, donated by his widow, Louise, of famous Shakespearean actors, including Olivier and Gielgud, and an original painting by Sandra Langston based on ASF's As You Like It. Tickets are $35, but $150 gets you reserved box seating and complimentary food and drink. All tickets purchased for the April 7 show will be honored.

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