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Best Bets: UMD presents Shakespeare’s comedy ‘All’s Well that Ends Well’

Chancellor Lendley Black is the King of France, and Erin Hartford is Helena in the University of Minnesota Duluth’s production of “All’s Well that Ends Well.” Photo by Brett Groehler

A Shakespeare play about a woman who has her sights set on a man who is too far beyond her social standing to take her seriously opens today at the University of Minnesota Duluth — with the university’s head in a starring role.

Chancellor Lendley Black is the King of France in “All’s Well that Ends Well,” directed by Kate Ufema.

Helena wants Bertram but he’s uninterested. She follows him to Paris, where he’s aiding the ailing king. She sets up a gig on the sly: Helena will heal the king if, in exchange, he will let her marry whomever she wants. Ah-greed.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy.

This one was billed as a “problem play” by scholars, Ufema says in the director’s notes. The big one: Is it a comedy, as Shakespeare called it, or is darker? By changing six words from the original script, some strategic movements and the addition of one line and one word, Ufema said they’ve turned it back into the intended comedy.

The University of Minnesota Duluth’s production of “All’s Well that Ends Well,” directed by Kate Ufema, opens at 7:30 p.m. today at the Mainstage Theatre at Marshall Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $19 for adults, $14 seniors and UMD faculty and staff, $8 for students and $6 for UMD students. Available at tickets.umn.edu or by calling (218) 726-8561.

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