Pi Theatre’s recently finished up the second run of their show Long Division which uses math to tell the story of 7 people connected through tragedy.
This was an inventive and fast paced season for Bard on the Beach. With three comical, crafty plays and one major drama they were certainly off to a good start.
My experience of the season began with a steampunk Comedy of Errors. For such a convoluted play, this was the perfect vessel. The constantly moving set, outlandish costumes, and strange performances easily heightened the absurdity. It’s full of slapstick humour and silly moments, with lots of space for the embellishments that director Scott Bellis used so well. Although not one of Shakespeare’s finest works it was a good start to the season, especially for actors Sereana Malani (Adriana) and Ben Elliott (Antipholus of Syracuse). Malani captured my attention every time she was on stage. Elliott, who has proved himself musically in many other Bard plays, was uproariously funny as the confused newcomer.
King Lear was the second main stage production, and it largely fell flat. This is a massive production to put on but the script can be cumbersome to do without losing audience attention, and unfortunately for some it did just that. At the start, Benedict Campbell fell into the problem of overemphasizing every line, but by the second act he seemed passive and afraid of the madness and anger required of him. The sisters (Jennifer Lines, Regan and Colleen Wheeler, Goneril) kept too many of their Tempest mannerisms for this much more serious play, getting laughs in a play that should not provide them. Michael Blake (Edmund) and Nathan Schmidt (Edgar) had some of the most interesting moments, each providing thoroughly nuanced portraits of their characters.
On the Howard Family Stage, Love’s Labour’s Lost took us on a rollicking, musical 1920s adventure that hit the jazz classics and easily express the character’s emotions. Chicago in the Roaring Twenties bring brilliant costumes and the speakeasy vibe that pairs well with Ben Elliot’s musical direction. Josh Epstein (Berowne) stands out as the king’s friend and lover of Rosaline. His voice is beautifully rich and his emotions are immediately evident. The slight audience interaction is both funny and complementary to the 20’s style, as this play is more an adaptation than a direct reproduction of Shakespeare’s creation.
King Lear’s actors took to the Howard Family Stage for C.C. Humphries novel Shakespeare’s Rebel. Set in Elizabethan London around Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and a potential revolution, John Lawley (Benedict Campbell) must separate himself from his past on the battlefield, help his friend William Shakespeare to write the play Hamlet, and clean himself up to win back his beloved Tess and son Ned. With so many pots and subplots throughout, it was amazing to see this novel put together so masterfully on stage. Although I found Campbell too overwhelming as King Lear, he seemed to find his footing in this production. This is where Jennifer Lines (Tess) and Colleen Wheeler (Queen Elizabeth) shine. Lines is feisty and smart, a clear choice for Lawley to pursue, while Wheeler masters the drama of Elizabeth as I hoped she would have in King Lear. The Bard’s own Christopher Gaze has directed a veritable star for the 2015 season, engaging and funny without overwhelming audiences who are used to Shakespeare’s own writings.
Both of the smaller stage performances were my favourite for the year, drawing my attention back again and again.
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 11:30am, Monday 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 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 Shakespeare Festival continues its 25th Anniversary season with the magical romance The Tempest. The production is on stage Tuesdays through Sundays on the BMO Mainstage, in Bard’s 733-seat custom-built Mainstage Theatre tent in Vanier Park, from June 12 to September 18, 2014. Director Meg Roe returns to Bard on the Beach with a re-imagining of her hugely-popular 2008 production of the play.
Magic and intrigue are at the heart of this fantastical romance. Prospero, a magician and the exiled Duke of Milan, lives on an enchanted island with his daughter Miranda, the spirit Ariel, and the slave Caliban. Prospero escaped years ago to the island, fleeing from his usurping brother Antonio, and Alonso, King of Naples. Now he’s conjured up a storm that shipwrecks his old enemies on the island’s shores. As Ariel and Prospero weave their magic, new alliances form, murder plots brew, and romance blossoms between Miranda and King Alonso’s son Ferdinand.
The Tempest features Allan Morgan as Prospero and Lili Beaudoin as his daughter Miranda. Jennifer Lines is the spirit Ariel and Todd Thomson plays the mean-spirited Caliban. Those shipwrecked on the island include Ian Butcher as Prospero’s brother Antonio, Scott Bellis as Alonso King of Naples, Bernard Cuffling as Gonzalo, Andrew McNee as Sebastian, and Kyle Rideout as Francisco. Daniel Doheny plays Prince Ferdinand, the love-struck son of Alonso. Adding humour are Luisa Jojic and Naomi Wright as the drunken courtiers Stephana and Trincula, who team up with Caliban. Allan Zinyk is the Boatswain who steers the ship through the storm along with fellow mariners Chirag Naik and John Voth, while Claire Hesselgrave, Sereana Malani and Adele Noronha play the Sprites that inhabit this magical island.
Scenic Designer Pam Johnson takes her inspiration from the sea, and the stage is enveloped with curved edges and crafted with open playing spaces. Costume Designer Christine Reimer dresses the shipwrecked courtiers in Jacobean attire, and has designed fantastical, island-inspired costumes for the Spirits and Shapes. More island magic will be brought to life by Heidi Wilkinson, Head of Properties. Alessandro Juliani has composed an original score for a string quartet, on stage at every performance, to evoke both the supernatural as well as the romantic world of the play. Malcolm Dow is the Sound Design Assistant for this production. The music is performed live on stage by Mark Beaty (bass and musical director), Molly MacKinnon (violin), Isabelle Roland (viola), Marcus Takizawa (viola) and Erin Kathleen Wong (violin). Gerald King’s lighting design heightens the sense of magic and romance, while Movement Choreographer Rob Kitsos and Fight Director Nicholas Harrison oversee the island antics. Production Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay is assisted by Kelly Barker (Assistant Stage Manager) and Anthony Wade-Cooper (Apprentice Stage Manager). Apprentice Director for The Tempest is Mack Gordon.
Performance details for The Tempest are as follows:
Previews: June 12, 13, 14, 19, 25, 26; OPENS: Friday June 27. ALL evening performances begin at 7:30pm.
Runs Tuesdays through Sundays from June 12 to September 18 – on the BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park.
Bard-B-Q & Fireworks July 30 @ 4:30pm (NEW START TIME). The Tempest plus salmon barbecue, post-dinner entertainment & fireworks viewing. (July 26 & August 2 Bard-B-Q events: performance is A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Plays in repertory with A Midsummer Night’s Dream which begins in previews June 11.
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). Early Bird regular adult tickets are priced at $43 to May 30. 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) and because many performances sell out in advance. The performance schedule and information can 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.