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words by ben stephens
You know that classic Shakespeare story? The one that goes along the lines of:
Helena, a lowborn of a Spanish countess is in love with the countess’ son, Bertram. But the devilishly sharp looking dude that Bertram is isn’t really into Helena, social standing and all, so without much notice, he takes off to the French capital to replace his father as an attendant to the almost bucket kicking, King of France.
So Helena also heads to Paris, to follow her heart and she somehow convinces the King of France that she can cure him and promises that if he dies, she too will face the same fortune. Turns out Helena cures the King and he offers her the chance to marry anyone of his men.
She chooses Bertram because you know, persistence. Bertram says no, the King says yes and then the marriage takes place – power to the king right? As the ceremony wraps up Bertram goes to join the war in Italy and says to Helena that he would only marry her if she bore his child and wore his family ring.
A kind of impossible ask, but it’s Helena after all and she nothing but a go getter.
So she heads to Italy as well, befriends a virgin that Bertram has his eye on and fools him into sleeping with her while the virgin steals Bertram’s ring. Bertram knows none of this, he wasn’t the brightest spark, you see?
So then Helena heads back home and tells her mum the whole story. Now a mother’s advice is always to be taken with a bag of salt, especially when that advice is to fake your own death. It’s the 15th Century, so Helena heeds the advice.
Bertram returns to the Spanish countryside after the war, delighted at Helena’s death and tries to marry a daughter of a local lord. It’s then that Helena comes forward with Bertram’s child and the family ring. Shocked, yet impressed Bertram then declares his love for Helena.
So the next time you’re in an absolute shit situation and it feels as if the world is getting a little too much, just remember, All’s well that ends well, no matter what you do.
This is my personal recall of the story, with so much going on in between the pages, it becomes a struggle to get it word for word…
Anyway, now that you’ve had your mind jogged with all that, from you can catch the team from Wellington Summer Shakespeare performing the above with director Peter Hambleton in charge of the show. All’s Well That Ends Well will be on at the Civic Square from February 17 to March 3.
Tickets are just $18 and can be purchased HERE.
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