Indigo Felton brings his character to life while rehearsing the "Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette," which will be a pat of the 2013 Piknik Theatre Festival. The performances will be at 6 p.m. July 13, 18, 20, 24, 26 and 28 at the Yampa River Botanic Park and July 14 at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Photo by John F. Russell

Indigo Felton brings his character to life while rehearsing the "Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette," which will be a pat of the 2013 Piknik Theatre Festival. The performances will be at 6 p.m. July 13, 18, 20, 24, 26 and 28 at the Yampa River Botanic Park and July 14 at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Steamboat Springs welcomes back Piknik Theatre Festival

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Piknik Theatre Festival schedule

All shows begin at 6 p.m.

July 12: Shakespeare's “The Winter’s Tale,” Yampa River Botanic Park

July 13: “The Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette,” Yampa River Botanic Park

July 14: “The Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette,” Bud Werner Memorial Library


July 17: Shakespeare's “The Winter’s Tale,” Yampa River Botanic Park

July 18: “The Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette,” Yampa River Botanic Park

July 19: Shakespeare's “The Winter’s Tale,” Bud Werner Memorial Library

July 20: “The Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette,” Yampa River Botanic Park

July 21: Shakespeare's “The Winter’s Tale,” Yampa River Botanic Park

July 24: “The Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette,” Yampa River Botanic Park

July 25: Shakespeare's “The Winters Tale,” Yampa River Botanic Park

July 26: “The Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette," Yampa River Botanic Park

July 27: Shakespeare's “The Winter’s Tale,” Yampa River Botanic Park

July 28: “Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette,” Yampa River Botanic Park

— Adam Donald produces, directs, acts and teaches drama to children in New Zealand.

He’s well-versed in all sorts of theater, but for Donald, nothing quite serves him as well as the Piknik Theatre Festival.

The sixth annual rendition features two plays, Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” and an original musical comedy entitled “The Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette.”

The free, outdoor theater series runs through July 28 with performances of either production taking place at 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays at Yampa River Botanic Park. The July 14 and 19 performances will take place on the Bud Werner Memorial Library lawn.

The first performance of the series — “The Winter’s Tale” — begins at 6 p.m. Friday at the Botanic Park. “The Extravagant Flauntings of Marie Antoinette” opens at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Botanic Park and shows again at 6 p.m. Sunday at the library.

For Donald, who is making his fourth trip to Steamboat and is directing the Marie Antoinette musical comedy, the setting and environment allow him to be inventive.

Were he wants to try something like Marie Antoinette at home — the play pokes fun at the excess of the French Revolution and uses parallels to the brattiness of some American teenagers — the reviews and criticism could be harsh.

“This is similar to an artistic residence for me,” he said. “With the actors, we can experience and develop shows.”

Produced by the Great American Laughing Stock Co. and its Artistic Director Stuart Handloff, Piknik Theatre brings multiple actors from a theater school in New Zealand to work on two productions, devise new works and lead children's drama camps.

For Handloff, the idea seemed to fit in six years ago for local theater. Using his connections in New Zealand, Handloff helped bring in the actors and directors for a couple of months.

The production starts in June, with rehearsals running five days per week. Affirmation of his vision came when those from New Zealand continued to show up.

“When you do a classical work and a new comedy, it’s something actors get excited about,” said Handloff, who is directing the Shakespeare play. “Artistically, it’s exciting. It’s a combo thing. With the actors and community, Steamboat is an extraordinary place.”

Donald traditionally has done a piece on some historical part of New Zealand, but with this play, he was able to look at the interesting arranged marriage of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI.

Piknik Theatre is free to spectators, who are welcome to bring food, blankets and children of all ages. Donations are welcome to support the nonprofit festival.

“There is a lot of comedy. It’s a fun piece,” Donald said. “We don’t want to bore people with factual, historical context.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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