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Huntington sets Love’s Labour’s Lost in pre-World War I Europe

In a world where anything is possible, innocence is regained

Covert meetings, misdirected love notes, and a beautiful princess threaten the chastity of four young scholars in William Shakespeare’s early comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost. The Huntington Theatre Company’s current production of the play, directed by Nicholas Martin, Huntington artistic director, runs through June 11 at the Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston. It is Martin’s first Boston-area Shakespeare production.

Set in pre–World War I Europe, a time of innocence, Martin says, when “the world was still full of hope and promise, and there was room for carelessness and dalliance. People still believed that anything was possible, despite clouds of unrest looming on the horizon.” A new score has been written for the production, which is accompanied by live music.

The director has also embraced the youthful energy and vitality of the play by casting experienced veterans alongside a younger cast, including as the lead character Berowne Boston University graduate Noah Bean (CFA’00), who just completed a starring role in David Mamet’s acclaimed new play Romance in Los Angeles.

Martin describes Love’s Labour’s Lost, one of Shakespeare’s earlier plays, as “complex, mysterious, and defying categorization in the Shakespeare canon.”

“I love its exuberant youthful energy,” he says. “And I love that it’s very funny and a little bittersweet. I think it’s an ideal show to end the season and start the summer.”