Shakespeare’s Rebel – World Premiere at Bard on the Beach this Summer!

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues its 26th season with the world stage premiere of Shakespeare’s Rebel by award winning author C.C. Humphreys. The play will run Tuesdays through Sundays from July 2 to September 19 on the Howard Family Stage, in the 270-seat Douglas Campbell Theatre Tent in Vanier Park.

 

It’s 1599, and London is on the brink of revolution. With rebellion in Ireland threatening to open the door to a Spanish invasion, Queen Elizabeth (Colleen Wheeler) has enlisted Robert Devereux (John Murphy), Earl of Essex, to quash the rebels. Essex calls on his most trusted ally, John Lawley (Benedict Campbell) to join him on the campaign, but John has quit the battlefield to join his friends at the Globe Theatre, where his son Ned (Chirag Naik) is following in his father’s footsteps as an actor. All Lawley wants is to win back his beloved Tess (Jennifer Lines) from Sir Samuel D’Esparr (David Marr), bond with his son, and above all be free of Essex. To make this happen, John must dodge both Essex and his adversary for the Queen’s affections, Sir Robert Cecil (Robert Klein), as well as Cecil’s right hand man, Thomas Waller (Ian Butcher). Meanwhile, his oldest friend, Will Shakespeare (Anousha Alamian) is struggling to finish Hamlet, and the Queen has requested a patriotic play given the country’s safety is at stake. Under the direction of Richard Burbage (Michael Blake), young Ned prepares for his roles on stage, while the Queen’s court becomes consumed by power and politics, conspiracy and rebellion. The Queen’s lady in waiting, Sarah (Andrea Rankin), is working with both sides as those around her are caught up in double dealings and are ultimately forced to choose a side (Craig Erickson, Declan O’Reilly, Nathan Schmidt). Will Lawley outrun his demons as he’s propelled into a deadly conspiracy that could destroy him – and England?

 

Marshall McMahen’s innovative stage design takes us from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to the wild Irish moors, paired with Christine Reimer’sbeautiful hand-worked period costumes and Adrian Muir’s evocative lighting design. The dynamic onstage battles are led by Fight Director Nicholas Harrison. Through authentic period instruments, Murray Price’s lilting soundscape transports audiences back to Elizabethan England.  Christopher Gaze, Artistic Director of Bard on the Beach, directs this world premiere by noted author C.C. Humphreys. Assisting with the adaptation of the best–selling novel for the stage is Dramaturg Martin Kinch. The Apprentice Director for Shakespeare’s Rebel is Jacquie Loewen.

Performance details for Shakespeare’s Rebel are as follows:
• Previews: July 2, 3, 5, 10, 11; OPENING NIGHT: Sunday July 12 at 7:30pm
• Runs Tuesdays through Sundays, July 2 to September 19, on the Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre Tent
• Plays in repertory with a musical adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost which begins in previews on June 19
• Talkback Tuesdays July 14, 28, August 11, 25, September 1 – Q&A session with members of the Shakespeare’s Rebel cast following the performance.
Shakespeare’s Rebellectures (Bard Explored Series) with C.C. Humphreys: Saturday July 18 at 11:30amMonday August 10 at 7:30pm

Ticket prices for 2015 include all applicable fees and taxes and begin at $26. The Global BC Youth Price is also available. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection; many performances sell out in advance. Full pricing information, the performance schedule and site and event details are on the Bard website at bardonthebeach.org. To book tickets, call the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559 or order online through the Bard website.

Bard on the Beach gratefully acknowledges its 2015 Season Sponsor, Goldcorp, and the production sponsor of Shakespeare’s Rebel, Lonetree Cider.

King Lear Joins the Bard on the Beach Mainstage Lineup, June 18

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King Lear comes to the BMO Mainstage of the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival June 18 to September 20. In collaboration with Theatre Calgary, it is directed by their Artistic Director, Dennis Garnhum. In a tale of family disputes and conspiracies, King Lear tells the story of an aging king and the events that eventually lead to his madness.

King Lear (Benedict Campbell), the King of Britain, has decided to retire and divide his kingdom between his three daughters. When asked how much they love him, his eldest daughters, Goneril (Colleen Wheeler) and Regan (Jennifer Lines), shower him with words of love. His youngest, Cordelia (Andrea Rankin), is banished when she does not follow suit. The Earl of Kent (John Murphy) objects to Lear’s treatment of Cordelia, and is banished as well. The Duke of Burgundy (Chirag Naik) rejects the disinherited daughter and Cordelia is instead married to the King of France (Craig Erickson), who admires her honest nature. Meanwhile, the Earl of Gloucester (David Marr) is told by his illegitimate son, Edmund (Michael Blake), that his older son Edgar (Nathan Schmidt) is plotting to murder him. Edmund persuades Edgar to flee for his life and he goes into hiding as a beggar named “Poor Tom”. Having given up his kingdom, Lear plans to stay with Goneril and Regan for one month at a time. It is then that he learns that his older daughters are conspiring against him with the help of their husbands, the Duke of Albany (Declan O’Reilly) and the Duke of Cornwall (Robert Klein). Distraught, Lear wanders out into a wild storm, where he is led by Kent and his Fool (Scott Bellis) to a hovel where Edgar, as “Poor Tom”, has been hiding. Gloucester is punished for secretly arranging for Lear to be sent to Dover, where Cordelia has landed with the French army to fight on the king’s behalf. As war between England and France looms, Edmund takes advantage of both Goneril and Regan’s growing attraction to him. Lear is finally reunited with Cordelia, but soon all sides must meet on the battlefield. Anousha Alamian (Knight) and Ian Butcher (Oswald) also join the cast for this magnificent tragedy.
Music Designer Dave Pierce’s original score, paired with Pam Johnson’s versatile set design and Gerald King’s powerful lighting, establish the tone for audiences and aid the transition from opulence to a barren wasteland. That transition is accentuated by Deitra Kalyn’s costume design, using colour and texture to illustrate Lear’s journey, while Shari Wattling lends her expertise as the production’s dramaturg. Fight Directors Haysam Kadri and Karl H. Sine have created spectacular fight scenes, set to Pierce’s score. Director Dennis Garnhum, along with apprentice director, Mike Griffin, showcase the play’s heartbreaks, betrayals and bloodshed with a fresh take on this classic. Production Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay is assisted by Kelly Barker (Assistant Stage Manager) and Alexandra Shewan (Apprentice Stage Manager).

 

Performance details for King Lear are as follows:

  • Previews: June 18, 19, 20, 24; OPENING NIGHT: Thursday, June 25 at 7:30pm
    • Runs Tuesdays through Sundays, June 18 to September 20, on the BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park
    • Plays in repertory with The Comedy of Errors on the BMO Mainstage which begins previews June 4
    Talkback Tuesdays: Tuesday evenings from June 30 to September 1 – Q&A session with members of the cast following the performance
    Wine Wednesdays – an intimate pre-show wine tasting in the Bard Marquee on July 15, August 12 & September 9 @ 6pm

 

Tickets for King Lear and all other Bard plays and events are available now. Ticket prices for 2015 include all applicable fees and taxes and begin at $26. The Global BC Youth Price is also available. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection; many performances sell out in advance. Full pricing information, the performance schedule and site and event details are on the Bard on the Beach website at bardonthebeach.org. To book tickets, call the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559 or order online through the Bard website.

Bard on the Beach’s CYMBELINE Delights Audiences and Keeps Them Guessing

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Theatre review: Bard on the Beach’s Cymbeline leaves audience gasping at the plot twistsShakespeare is generally known for two types of plays: tragedy and comedy, but in CYMBELINE we get the best of both genres. This dramatic story rife with mistaken identity, murderous plots, and convuluted tricks is turned on its head with Shakespeare’s unmistakable one liners. Cymbeline is one of the most rarely performed plays, but I am incredibly delighted that Bard on the Beach has chosen to tackle it for their 25th season.

One of the best decisions in this production that added wonderfully to the comedy was to have each of the male actors double up on how many characters they were playing. It kept the play light enough to allow for the comedy to come through. As the drama heated up, actors were quickly swapping their costumes onstage to play both of their characters at once. This Monty Python-esque, TheatreSports style was a great addition and seemed as though it were how the play was meant to be performed.

Some of the standout performances in these roles were the villanous Queen, stepmother to Imogen, who plots her death. Played by Shawn Macdonald, he kickstarted the play with his stark contrast to all others initially on stage, the only one not laughing and joining in the fun but instead hands clasped tightly together with a cocked eyebrow that immediately identified him as one to watch.

Bob Frazer presented the cunning Roman seducer with a goal to entrap Imogen, the ungrateful Second Lord to her stepbrother, and a Roman soldier set to bring war to England. He transfers between roles smoothly, but his best moment is as the seducer Iachimo when he manages to get himself in front of Imogen herself.

The most stunning of these multiple character performances was surely done by Anton Lipovetsky, as Imogen’s lover, hated stepbrother, and unknown brother. With three large roles and references between them, it was always enjoyable seeing him on stage. The characters were each so incredibly separate from each other it was sometimes forgotten that they were all played by the same man. The different emotions and mannerisms from each character seemed to take complete control of him, requiring no other distinction for the audience.

The sole woman of the play, Imogen (Rachel Cairns), King Cymbeline’s daughter, was a vision on stage. Her evil stepmother the Queen plots her death while a Roman bets her lover that she’ll fall to his advances, but all throughout Cairns delivers an amazing performance as the audience experiences each of her emotions just as strongly as she does, and ends up falling in love with her much as the rest of the characters do.

The energy of this play would have been impossible without Benjamin Elliot’s musical creation that was threaded throughout each scene. With the actors usually sitting at the back of the set they contributed to this production with mandolins, guitars, drums, and an accordion and kept the casual, comedic aspects of the play through every scene.

Although this play may not be one you’re familiar with, that’s part of the fun. Experiencing one of Shakespeare’s masterful creations for the first time, especially when it’s presented so wonderfully, is part of the joy of theatre. You can get a ticket for this play, or any of Bard on the Beach’s 25th season here.

The Howard Family Stage welcomes CYMBELINE to the 2014 Bard on the Beach season

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues its 25th season with Cymbeline, an enthralling drama featuring one of Shakespeare’s most finely-etched female leads. It plays Tuesdays through Sundays in the intimate 240-seat Douglas Campbell Theatre tent on the Howard Family Stage in Vanier Park from July 4 to September 17, 2014.Anita Rochon, making her Bard on the Beach debut, directs this fast-paced physical production featuring a cast of seven actors who artfully transform into multiple roles. The enthralling story that follows is driven by love, jealousy, betrayal and redemption and features a host of memorable characters.

The setting is ancient Britain where King Cymbeline’s (Gerry Mackay) kingdom is in danger. The Romans are threatening an invasion and there is no heir to the throne. Cymbeline’s two sons were stolen when they were children and his daughter Imogen (Rachel Cairns) has married Poshumous (Anton Lipovetsky), a poor orphan.  This despite his orders for her to marry his new wife’s son, Cloten. Upon Posthumous’s banishment he travels to Rome where he meets Iachimo (Bob Frazer), who wagers half his fortunes that he can sleep with Imogen. Iachimo travels to Britain where he fails to woo her so he hides in a trunk in Imogen’s bedroom and when she is asleep, steals a bracelet as evidence of his success. Posthumous is thrown into a rage and sends orders to his servant Pisanio (Anousha Alamian) to kill Imogen. Pisanio disobeys and sends Imogen away from the kingdom, disguised as a boy. In Wales she meets three cave-dwellers, a father, Belarius (Shawn Macdonald) and his two sons, Guiderius (Benjamin Elliott) and Arviragus. The boys nor Imogen know that they are in fact the king’s sons who were kidnapped. An epic battle erupts between the British and the Romans where King Cymbeline is saved by his lost sons. All the characters are reunited where everybody learns everything about everybody else and peace is restored.

Anita Rochon is the Director of Cymbeline, along with a creative team that includes: Scenic Designer Pam Johnson,Costume Designer Mara Gottler and Lighting Designer Alan Brodie along with Composer and Sound DesignerBenjamin Elliott, Choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg and Fight Director Nicholas Harrison. Production Stage Manager Joanne P.B. Smith is assisted by Samara Van Nostrand (Assistant Stage Manager) and Jennifer Stewart(Apprentice Stage Manager). Apprentice Director for Cymbeline is Guy Fauchon.

Performance details for Cymbeline are as follows:

  • Previews: July 4, 5, 8, 11, 12; OPENS: July 13.
  • Runs Tuesdays through Sundays from July 4 to September 17 – on the Howard Family Stage
  • Plays in repertory with Equivocation by Bill Cain which begins in previews July 2.

Play ticket prices (adults) include all fees & taxes and are $47 (evenings) and $33 to $35 (previews, matinees and long weekend evenings) with a $27 Global BC Youth Rate (6-25 years, all play performances). Prices for special events, groups and multi-play ticket package discounts can be found on the Bard website. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection (all seats are reserved). The performance schedule can also be found on the Bard website atwww.bardonthebeach.org. For more information and tickets, call 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559 or order online through the Bard website.

EQUIVOCATION by Bill Cain opens 2014 Howard Family Stage season at Bard on the Beach

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues the celebration of its 25th anniversary with the Shakespearean-themed drama Equivocation by celebrated American playwright and Jesuit priest Bill Cain. Presented earlier this spring at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, British Columbia, Equivocation marks Bard on the Beach’s first co-production. It plays Tuesdays through Sundays in the intimate 240-seat Douglas Campbell Theatre tent, on the Howard Family Stage, from July 2 to September 19 in Vanier Park.

Palace intrigue and backstage humour share the spotlight in a fascinating ode to art, politics and the dangers of negotiating both. King James’ Prime Minister has charged Shagspeare (William Shakespeare) with writing the “true history” of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. The playwright struggles to figure out where fiction stops and the facts may lead – without losing his head in the process.

It’s England, 1606, and a terrorist plot to assassinate King James I – and blow Parliament to kingdom come with 36 barrels of gunpowder – has been uncovered. Shagspeare (Bob Frazer) is commissioned by Robert Cecil, the King’s Prime Minister, to write the “true historie” of the plot. “And it must have witches! The King wants witches!”, Cecil demands. But as Shag and the acting company of the Globe (Anousha Alamian, Anton Lipovetsky, Shawn Macdonald), under the direction of the great Richard Burbage (Gerry Mackay), investigate the plot, they discover that the King’s version of the story might actually be a cover-up. Shagspeare and his actors are confronted with the ultimate moral and artistic dilemma: speak truth to power and perhaps lose their heads? Or take the money, write propaganda and lose their souls? Or could equivocation be a third option? A high-stakes political thriller with contemporary resonance, Equivocation gallops from the great Globe to the Tower of London and the halls of Parliament to Judith (Rachel Cairns), Shagspeare’s younger daughter, who finds herself unexpectedly at the very heart of the political and ultimately human mystery.

Michael Shamata is the Director of Equivocation, along with a creative team that includes: Scenery Designer Kevin McAllister, Costume Designer Nancy Bryant and Lighting Designer Alan Brodie along with Composer and Sound Designer Tobin Stokes and Fight Director Nicholas Harrison. Production Stage Manager Joanne P.B. Smith is assisted by Samara Van Nostrand (Assistant Stage Manager) and Jennifer Stewart (Apprentice Stage Manager). Apprentice Director for Equivocation is Katrina Darychuk.
Performance details for Equivocation are as follows:
Previews: July 2, 3, 6, 9; OPENS: July 10.
Runs Tuesdays through Sundays from July 2 to September 19 – on the Howard Family Stage in Vanier Park.
Plays in repertory with Cymbeline which begins in previews July 4.
Play ticket prices (adults) include all fees & taxes and are $47 (evenings) and $33 to $35 (previews, matinees and long weekend evenings) with a $27 Global BC Youth Rate (6-25 years, all play performances). Prices for special events, groups and multi-play ticket package discounts can be found on the Bard website. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection (all seats are reserved). The performance schedule can also be found on the Bard website at http://www.bardonthebeach.org. For more information and tickets, call 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559 or order online through the Bard website

Equivocation by Bill Cain hits the Belfry Theatre

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 “I want to tell the truth. I just don’t want to get caught at it.” – William Shagspeare in Equivocation

“…it zooms along with all the hip humor of a writers’ meeting for Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”.…enormously smart, witty, multilayered, political-personal, centuries-crossing, theater-teasing, Shakespeare-embracing play…” Chicago Sun Times

Victoria, British Columbia…From April 22 – May 25, 2014 the Belfry Theatre will present Equivocation by American playwright and Jesuit priest Bill Cain. Directed by Michael Shamata, Equivocation stars Anousha Alamian, Rachel Cairns, Bob Frazer, Anton Lipovetsky, Shawn MacDonald, and Gerry Mackay.

Equivocation is a co-production with Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach, and following its run in Victoria, the show will transfer there and run from July 2 – September 19. This will be Bard on the Beach’s first ever co-production.

Palace intrigue and backstage comedy converge to create this entertaining ode to art, politics, and the perils of negotiating both! It’s a dangerous time for Catholics when King James’ henchman Sir Robert Cecil charges William Shagspeare (yes, him) with writing the “true history” of Guy Fawkes and the thwarted Gunpowder Plot. The famous playwright attempts to discover where the fiction stops and where the facts lead – without losing his head in the process!

Equivocation
 premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009 and subsequently transferred to Seattle. The play has been produced throughout the US.

The creative team for Equivocation includes Set Designer Kevin McAllister, Costume Designer Nancy Bryant, Lighting Designer Alan Brodie, Composer / Sound Designer Tobin Stokes and Fight Director Nick Harrison. Jennifer Swan is the Stage Manager and Ben Cheung is the Assistant Stage Manager.

Engaging Audiences
Prior to and throughout the run of Equivocation,
 the Belfry is producing a number of audience engagement events designed to enhance and extend the experience of the play.

B4Play – Saturday, April 19 at 11 am
CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie will host a live talk show featuring artists fromEquivocation 
and some very special community guests. This free event is at the Belfry Theatre.

Afterplay (April 29 – May 3 / May 13 – 17)
Following selected performances of Equivocation,
 we’ll host Afterplay – a facilitated discussion where patrons can share their thoughts with fellow audience members. It’s a chance to “debrief” after the show and hear how other audience members experienced the play.

Library Events
In collaboration with the Greater Victoria Public Library we’ll be hosting Belfry at the Library where we delve into the themes of the show and give people a behind the scenes look at the making of Equivocation
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We’ll be at the Bruce Hutchinson Branch (4636 Elk Lake Drive, Saanich Commonwealth Place) on Friday, May 2 from 10:30 am to 11:15 am and at the Central Branch (735 Broughton Street) Friday, May 16 from 10:30 am to 11:15 am.

ASL Performance – May 11 at 2pm
An American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performance for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Certified interpreters, standing to the left side of the stage, interpret the script and language used by the actors at the same time it is being performed.

VocalEye Performance – May 18 at 2 pm
Audio describers provide descriptions of the visual elements of the show, allowing people with low vision to enjoy the theatrical experience without missing any of the details. Following the performance there is a touch tour of the set.

Ticket Information and Performance Schedule
Tuesdays – Saturdays at 8 pm
Wednesday Matinees (April 30 & May 7) at 1 pm
Saturday Matinees at 4 pm
Sunday Matinees at 2 pm

Single tickets for the show range from $25 to $40 (plus GST) and can be booked by calling 250-385-6815, or online at www.belfry.bc.ca. Students discounts are available.

Equivocation contains some graphic and violent content.