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At Kansas City Shakespeare Festival, 'Something Beautiful And Magical'

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please.


We should begin every segment of the program that way. But it's from the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival at Southmoreland Park in Kansas City. And it's part of our midsummer series called World's A Stage. So let's spend a little time with the players on that stage.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And now it's time for "Twelfth Night." Enjoy.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Duke Orsino) If music be the food of love, play on.

BREE ELROD: My name is Bree Elrod. And I'm playing Viola. And there's something beautiful and magical about being outside and doing Shakespeare. And at night, sometimes, the sun is setting. And then the moon starts to rise. And you're just - you're hearing Shakespeare's words. And you're thinking, yeah, this is a pretty great night.

(As Viola) I will on with my speech in your praise and show you the heart of my message.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As Olivia) Come to what is important, and I forgive you the praise.

ELROD: (As Viola) Alas, I took great pains to study it. It is poetical.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As Olivia) 'Tis the more liked to be feigned. I pray you, keep it in.

BRANDON PENNINGTON: Brandon Pennington (ph). We decided to bring a picnic of fruits and vegetables and some cheeses, along with some non-alcoholic sparkling cider for the girls - the young ones - and some wine and Summer Shandy for the adults. We actually came out before the girls were ever born and really enjoyed it and wanted to expose them to some of the culture of Kansas City that they haven't been exposed to yet.

GREG MACKENDER: Greg Mackender, performer and composer. I've been with it since the very beginning, starting in 1993. It's really quite humbling to - and gives me a better appreciation of everything that actors do and the discipline they have in their craft. I've had actors tell me, you know, it just really energizes them.

PHIL FIORINI: I'm Phil Fiorini. And I'm playing Feste the fool.

(As Feste) When that I was and a little tiny boy, with a hey, a ho, the wind and the rain.

I like that about this epilogue. That life happens - it's basically, you know, the raineth (ph) - raineth every day. And we take the good and the bad with life. And yet we are here to take you away for a little bit as actors, as performers.

(As Feste, singing) And that's all one. Our play is done. And we strive to please you every day.

INSKEEP: That visit to the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival was produced by Laura Spencer of member station KCUR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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