Bard on the Beach shines in opening of beautiful The Winter’s Tale

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Bard on the Beach premiered their second show of the season, The Winter’s Tale, last week on the BMO Mainstage. Set in Sicilia and Bohemia with a large cast of strong characters, a wonderful minimalist set, beautiful costumery, and fantastic puppetry, Bard is showcasing their best. Continue reading

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.

Join Bard on the Beach for The Comedy of Errors

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival opens its 26th season with The Comedy of Errors. Directed by Bard on the Beach Artistic AssociateScott Bellis, this steampunk rendition of Shakespeare’s lively comedy runs June 4 to September 26 on the BMO Mainstage. Double trouble has never been more delightful! Two sets of long-lost twins meet up unexpectedly, creating hilarious confusion for their friends, loved ones – and most of all themselves.

THE STORY: After a shipwreck that split his family apart many years ago, Egeon (Scott Bellis), a merchant from Syracuse, finds himself facing the death penalty for illegally being in the rival city of Ephesus. Duke Solinus (Jeff Gladstone), moved by Egeon’s story, suspends the death penalty for just one day to give him time to raise the money to pay a fine, setting the plot in motion.

Meanwhile Egeon’s son, Antipholus of Syracuse (Ben Elliott), along with his servant, Dromio of Syracuse (Luisa Jojic), have also just arrived in town with the same family-seeking mission in mind. Things become complicated when they stumble upon the home of their identical twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus (Jay Hindle) and Dromio of Ephesus (Dawn Petten). Of course the locals of Ephesus all mistake the twins for their counterparts, fromAntipholus’ wife Adriana (Sereana Malani) and her sister Luciana (Lindsey Angell), to Angelo the goldsmith (Andrew Cownden), Balthasar the merchant (Andrew McNee) and a Courtesan (Lili Beaudoin), turning the town upside down. When it seems like things could not get any stranger, we meet the mysterious Abbess (Anna Galvin), who has a secret of her own. Adding to the entertaining twists and turns along the way are Daniel Doheny(Maud, The Collections Officer) and Josh Epstein (The Smuggler).

Audiences will be transported into an alternate reality with the help of Malcolm Dow’s imaginative sound design and Gerald King’s lighting, adding to the eye-popping steampunk world that set designer Pam Johnson has created on stage. Costume designer Mara Gottler gives the classical Shakespearean play a full-blown visual makeover, using references to steampunk culture and colour to heighten the confusion, also showcased through choreography by Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg. Production Stage Manager Stephen Courtenay is assisted by Kelly Barker (Assistant Stage Manager) and Alexandra Shewan (Apprentice Stage Manager). Apprentice Director for The Comedy of Errors is Amanda Lockitch.

Performance details for The Comedy of Errors are as follows:
• Previews: June 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13; OPENS: Saturday, June 13 at 7:30pm
• Runs Tuesdays through Sundays, June 4 to September 26, on the BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park
• Plays in repertory with King Lear which begins previews on June 18
Bard-B-Q & Fireworks: July 25, 29 & August 1 @ 5pm (NEW TIME) – See The Comedy of Errors or Shakespeare’s Rebel followed by a delicious salmon barbecue, post-dinner entertainment & a private view of the fireworks. Tickets from $95.
Wine Wednesdays – an intimate pre-show wine tasting in the Bard Marquee on July 15, August 12 & September 9 @ 6pm

 

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 The Comedy of Errors, RE/MAX.

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.

The Tempest joins 25th Anniversary season at Bard on the Beach

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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.