CHASING SHAKESPEARE (Norry Niven)
As per the title, the Bard’s plays and poetry make superficial appearances in this maudlin would-be tearjerker, which opens this year’s festival. Beginning with a scene in a torrential, lightning-filled rainstorm in which William Ward (Danny Glover) bids a teary goodbye to his dying wife Venus (Tantoo Cardinal). William deals with the aftermath of his wife’s death as awkward flashbacks are interspersed, showing us how the younger William and Venus met, and the early days of their relationship. William meets Venus when she unsuccessfully auditions for the role of Juliet in a high school production. Her performance brings everyone in the room to tears, but as a Native American, she unfortunately isn’t white enough for the part. William and Venus’ romance blossoms and endures despite the myriad tragedies and challenges they must endure. There is a mystical element added here; Venus’ clan has a special relationship to lightning, and she is till able to commune with William after she dies. Danny Glover and Graham Greene (as Venus’ dad) do their best to class up this material, but unfortunately their efforts are sunk by an inept script and some fairly cheesy visual effects.
(Nov. 29, Symphony Space; Dec. 1, Thalia; Dec. 7, Quad)