Welcome back, Bard on the Beach
What: Bard on the Beach featuring Macbeth, As You Like It, Timon of Athens, and Lysistrata
Where: Vanier Park, Vancouver, BC
WHEN: June 6-Sept. 22
Cost: Prices start at $24 (Canadian)
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Summer isn’t officially here quite yet, but the opening of the 29th season of “Bard on the Beach” this week at Vancouver, BC’s scenic Vanier Park portends that the winningest, warmest, most wonderful season in the Pacific Northwest is just around the corner.
Touting a comedy, a tragedy and hot-button tales for our times, the longtime Shakespeare-focused festival opens with a powerhouse classical production of Macbeth on Wed., June 6.
Celebrated Canadian actors Ben Carlson and Moya O’Connell will take on the title roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and Chris Abraham will make his directorial Bard on the Beach debut.
“Macbeth is a masterpiece, and the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are two of the most terrifying and devastating tragic figures imagined by Shakespeare,” Abraham says. “At times chillingly amoral, and at others superhumanly sublime in their suffering, the two characters together are Shakespeare’s most finely drawn portrait of marriage. It’s my great privilege to be working with two of the country’s most accomplished classical actors on this incredible contemporary meditation on power, patriarchy, fate and free will.”
To counter the stark and visceral approach to the language and staging of the play Abraham is planning in order to conjure what it would’ve been like to see Macbeth when Shakespeare first wrote it, As You Like It will jump ahead in time. The 1960s-inspired adaptation will include a plethora of Beatles songs—25, to be exact.
“The songs we’ve chosen lend themselves perfectly to this romantic and spiritual story,” director Daryl Cloran says. “The transition of the Beatles through the ‘60s is reminiscent of the free-spirited journey of the play’s main characters and the social and cultural evolution of Vancouver during that time. I was also inspired by memories of All-Star Wrestling in the heart of Vancouver—and I realized we could incorporate the laid-back environment of the Okanagan in the ‘60s to represent Shakespeare’s Forest of Arden.”
In addition to the tragedy and comedy playing in repertory through Sept. 22 in the open-air mainstage tent, starting June 26 the Howard Family Stage will feature Timon of Athens alternating with a new adaptation of Lysistrata, the 411 BC play about the first-ever women’s strike. Both offerings are directed by women—Meg Roe and Lois Anderson, respectively—and each promises to delve into those aforementioned “hot-button” issues.
After securing tickets for any of these four plays (or all of them, if you’re feeling ambitious), spend some time on the Bard on the Beach website exploring how one of Canada’s largest professional Shakespeare festivals works year-round to offer educational opportunities for youth, adults and theater professionals.
It will also be worth your while to peruse the special reoccurring events taking place through the summer, including Bard-B-Q & Fireworks, Family Nights, Talkback Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays, Exploring Shakespeare talks, live music and more.
While checking out all that Bard on the Beach has to offer, it may seem as if the whole summer is stretching out in front of you and there’s still plenty of time to plan your theatrical outings. But be aware that shows are known to sell out on the regular, and this is one case when it doesn’t pay to wait to see what the season brings. Design an outing around Bard on the Beach, and leave the rest of your border crossing to chance.
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