Bard On The Beach : Shakespeare In Love

Shakespeare in Love Charlie Gallant & Ghazal Azarbad Image: Emily Cooper

Most patrons of Bard On The Beach, have a love for Shakespeare but for the 30th Anniversary season, the Festival has flipped the script to present Shakespeare In Love.

Directed by Daryl Cloran, (director of The Beatles themed As You Like It from Bard’s 2018 season), this adaptation of the 1998 Academy Award-winning film of the same name, Shakespeare In Love takes the audience behind the scenes to look, with creative historical liberties, at a period in Will Shakespeare’s life. Suffering from writer’s block while trying to write his next play, “Romeo & Ethel The Pirates Daughter”, Will must overcome battling producers, actors egos, and noble rivals for the love of his muse. Although Shakespeare In Love is not written by the Bard, Lee Hall has adapted the original screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard into a fast-paced comedy, filled with the familiar tropes and themes found in original works. The play within the play unwraps the script of Romeo & Juliet, as it’s supposedly being written by Will, corresponding with his love affair with muse Viola.

Shakespeare In Love
l-r: Chirag Naik, Jennifer Lines & Paul Moniz de Sá
Photo: Tim Matheson

When remaking a well known and acclaimed work, it can often be difficult to not be compared to the original actors in the source material, but the company of Bard on the Beach makes these characters, both historic and fictitious, their own. Charlie Gallant is charming as befuddled but romantic leading man, Will Shakespeare. In her dual turn as Will’s love interest, Viola de Lessep and her male alter-ego Thomas Kent the actor, Ghazal Azarbad makes you forget about Gwyneth Paltrow’s Best Actress performance. Regal Jennifer Lines channels Dame Judy Dench as her majesty Queen Elizabeth I. Bard vets Scott Bellis, Warren Kimmel, Andrew McNee, Kamyar Pazandeh and Chirag Naik chew up the scenery to provide some great comedic moments in contrast to Will and Viola’s Romeo & Juliet love story.

Ghazal Azarbad & Charlie Gallant Photo: Tim Matheson

Shakespeare In Love incorporates enough of Romeo & Juliet to keep Bard lovers happy while bringing a contemporary take on Shakespeare to the BMO Mainstage at Bard on the Beach.

Shakespeare In Love plays in repertoire with Taming of the Shrew at Bard on the Beach, under the Tents at Vanier Park (behind Museum of Vancouver) until September 18, 2019. Information and tickets are available online at bardonthebeach.org.

Bard On The Beach : Taming Of The Shrew

The 30th Season of Bard on the Beach is underway, with Taming of the Shrew starting the season under the tents at Vanier Park. There are few spots in Vancouver nicer to spend a summer evening, add in a new adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s classic comedies by a brilliant company and it’s a near perfect theatre experience.

Bard on the Beach Taming of the Shrew Image: Emily Cooper

Taming of the Shrew tells the story of the fair Bianca and her sister, foul Katherine (Kate), and their suitors. Lady Baptista, the sister’s mother, has decreed that Bianca may not marry until after the elder Katherine is suitably married, much to the chagrin of Bianca’s many admirers. Seeing mutual benefit from working together, Bianca’s beaus conspire to find a husband for the shrewish Kate. Success comes with the arrival of Petruchio, who, in need of her large dowry, steps up to the challenge. Upon marriage, Petruchio ‘breaks’ Kate with a series of psychological gamesmanship and returns to Padua victorious in his taming of the shrew…or was he?

Shifted from late 16th Century Italy to the late 1800s America West, Director Lois Anderson has created a play that fits well into its new era. Costume Designer Mara Gottler and Set Designer Cory Sincennes have crafted a look straight out of Gunsmoke.

Jennifer Lines & Andrew McNee | Photo: Tim Matheson
Taming Of The Shrew
Jennifer Lines & Andrew McNee
Photo: Tim Matheson

Leading the cast, Jennifer Lines and Andrew McNee play off of each nicely as Kate and Petruchio. Ms Lines’ intense and dramatic Kate contrasts with McNee’s comedic skills and mugging. Kate Besworth’s sweet, giggling Bianca was a contrast to Line’s abrupt character. Kamyar Pazandeh’s Lucentio, stood out amongst Bianca’s many suitors. Portraying his servant Triano, Chirag Naik is always dependable, both the character and actor.

At 2.5 hours, the light comedy is nicely paced to keep the show moving and manages to avoid feeling long. See for yourself why Taming of the Shrew makes for an enjoyable Spaghetti Western / Shakespearean mash-up.

Taming of the Shrew runs, in repertoire with Shakespeare In Love, until September 21, 2019 at Bard on the Beach tents at Vanier Park (behind Museum of Vancouver). Information and tickets are available online at bardonthebeach.org.

Picks of the Week – August 29, 2018

Where did summer go?! While there’s still officially a month left, the Labour Day is the unofficial wrap of the season so let’s make sure the picks of the week are filled with things to do.

Bard on the Beach – As You Like It : Lindsey Angell & Nadeem Phillip

Bard: Catch them while you can, there’s just days left for some of the shows at Bard on the Beach 2018.  Make your picks between a brilliant Beatles themed version of As You Like It,  or the dramatic Macbeth on the Mainstage, and find Timon of Athens or Lysistrata on the Howard Family Stage, all running into September.

Things: The Museum of Vancouver’s exhibit Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives,  brings the great outdoors, indoors to take a look at the relationship between local plants and animals and the people and places in the city, showing until 2019

Lawn: The Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park welcomes Portugal. The Man & Broken Social Scene on September 1st.

Tyrant: Enjoy the August line-up of comedy and jazz at Tyrant Studios Summer Lounge Series: Friday Jazz & The Comic Strip Saturdays

PNE: The final week of the 2018 Fair at the PNE is your last chance to catch those little donuts and so much for before the Fair closed on Labour Day

PNE

Nights: The opening of the PNE also kicks off the Summer Nights Concert Series fan picks between free concerts from Kool & The Gang, Jan Arden, Burton Cummings, Chicago, Village People, and Cyndi Lauper

Balls: The Whitecaps are still striving to make to a playoff position, can they repeat their win over San Jose when they host them on Saturday?

Pop: French indie-pop act Phoenix take to the stage at Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Monday evening

Dine: It’s the final week of  Provence Marinaside’s Tomato Festival  bringing the best of the summer’s crop to your plate

Laugh:  Visit one of the best patios in Vancouver, the Neil McRae Bar at the Improv Centre on Granville Island and while you’re there get a good laugh a at Vancouver Theatresports League zany improv antics when you check out the fun at Avocado Toast or stay for the late night show WTF – What The Fun!

Richmond World Festival -Global Village

World: The Richmond World Festival brings the entertainment, food, and fun from around the globe to Minoru Park, for free, Friday and Saturday.

Cabin: Take a trip to the cabin while staying indoors, at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever  an exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view until September 30, 2018

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art examines the deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment, in BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest  an exhibit curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation, until January 2019

Bard on the Beach announces its 30th Season

Before the current season of Bard on the Beach comes to a close on September 28, 2018, Artistic Director Christopher Gaze has announced the lineup for the 2019 Festival’s 30th Anniversary Season.

Running in repertory, from June 5 to September 21, 2019, on Bard’s two stages; BMO MainStage and the Howard Family Stage, the 2019 season’s plays include the return of a record-setting Bard hit, an internationally-popular romantic comedy, a cross-cultural romance and a powerful political drama.

The BMO MainStage features:

The Taming of the Shrew, running June 5 – September 21, 2019.?A revival of the Bard crowd-pleasing, ‘spaghetti western’ from 2007. Set in the Wild West, and staring Jennifer Lines and Andrew McNee as Kate and Petruchio in a battle of wits, wills and gun-slinging, directed by Lois Anderson.

and

Shakespeare in Love, running June 11 – September 18, 2019. ?Based on the Academy Award-winning screenplay by Mark Norman & Tom Stoppard, adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and directed by Citadel Theatre’s Daryl Cloran. The romantic comedy, following a Young Will Shakespeare through the trials and tribulations of writer’s block in a tale of romance, mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and back stage antics.

The Howard Family Stage brings two innovative new productions to the stage:

Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, running June 28 – August 11, 2019.
Co-created and co-directed by Johnna Wright and Rohit Chokhani (Artistic Director, Diwali in BC) the play is set in India during the waning days of British occupation and sparked with south-Asian music and dance.

and

Coriolanus, running August 20 – September 15, 2019?Bard on the Beach’s first production of Coriolanus, directed by Dean Paul Gibson, is a no-holds-barred political tragedy perfectly fitting for our present political climate.

Says Bard Artistic Director Christopher Gaze: “Our 30th Season is designed to be a delight for patrons, old and new. We’ve programmed entertaining options for all, from the most loyal Shakespeare fans to those who’ve never experienced a play at Bard before.”

Advance sales of 2019 Bard Season Packs are now on sale, offering a substantial discount on tickets for all four productions. Just $159 per Pack until September 4, then Season Packs rise to $179. ?Flex Packs will go on sale in November, with single tickets following in early April, 2019.
Order Season Packs online now at bardonthebeach.org or by phone from the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559.

There’s more than just Shakespeare at Bard on the Beach

Last night Chor Leoni’s Mane Event at Bard on the Beach filled the mainstage tent with the sounds of music.

The perfect way to wrap up the Canada Day weekend, the Lions brought to stage a varied selection of songs including a taste of Canadiana including iconic hits by Tragically Hip,  Ian & Sylvia Tyson along with Quebecois and Maritime folk faves and the touching Gimikwenden Ina from the Indigenous musical Children of God. In the second act, the men of Chor Leoni really let loose and ramp up the fun with the pop and Broadway hits.  Rob McAllister’s colourful costumes add to the comedic flare pop and Broadway hits.  Even Bollywood makes a showing too, really highlighting Ariana Barer’s choreography. Meghan Trainor’s Me Too, a Lady Gaga/Madonna mash-up Born To Express Yourself This Way, and Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling brings out the Trolls (not the internet type), to wrap up the feel good show.

This year’s Mane Event was the 25th and final Chor Leoni show at Bard on the Beach but it is just one of the many special events Bard on the Beach hosts each summer.  In addition to the plays in repertoire; Macbeth, As You Like It, Timon of Athens & Lysistrata, this year also features;

Bard-B-Q & Fireworks July 28, August 1 & 4 | 5:30pm & 6pm*
See As You Like It or Timon of Athens* followed by a salmon barbecue from Emelle’s Catering. Visit the PIXSTAR Photobooth, take in the award-winning Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band and more, before enjoying a private view of the spectacular Celebration of Light fireworks.

 Family Nights July 24 & August 21 | 6pm
A perfect night for the whole family! Geared for ages 6 and up, this special evening is filled with family-friendly activities. Arrive at the Village early for the PIXSTAR Photobooth, face painting, food truck, an exclusive pre-show talk designed just for kids and more. Then enjoy a performance of the Bard/Beatles musical-comedy mash-up As You Like It. 

Operas & Arias: Bold and Beautiful August 27 & September 3 | 2pm & 7:30pm (both days)
Join the UBC Opera Ensemble and members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra for a costumed concert performance. Drawn from a set of best-loved operas, the programme will include favourite selections from La TraviataLa BohèmeDie Fledermausand more. Bard Artistic Director Christopher Gaze hosts all performances, presented on the BMO Mainstage. 

For more information on these and all the other special events, education and speakers at Bard On The Beach visit bardonthebeach.org/special-events

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Go back to the 60s with As You Like It at Bard On The Beach

Bard on the Beach – As You Like It : Lindsey Angell & Nadeem Phillip

FUN, is the best word to describe As You Like It, now playing at Bard on the Beach, alternating nights with Macbeth.  While Macbeth is a brooding, dark, and classic production, As You Like It is the complete opposite; lively, bright and a mash-up Bard-Beatles musical production.

That’s right, the music of The Beatles plays a big role in director Daryl Cloran’s production for the Bard on the Beach stage.  Sure to be a summer hit,  Cloran has seamlessly moved As You Like It from the 1600s in Frances’ Forest of Arden, to the swinging 60s in the Okanagan.  Large parts of Shakespeare’s dialogue has been brilliantly replaced with the word of Lennon & McCartney. With 25 Beatles songs included in this mash-up, it is remarkable how well the music fits the story and doesn’t clash with the Bard’s comedic vision.

The romantic comedy is filled with classic Shakespearean plot devices; mistaken identities & alter-egos, difficult family dynamics, class struggles, romantic triangles, comedic sidekicks plus more to keep you laughing.  Walking into the BMO Mainstage at Bard on the Beach, the audience is greeted by an All-Star Wrestling ring, signalling that this will not be an ordinary evening of Shakespeare.  The hero Orlando, strives to better himself in life (and in the ring) but when the evil promotor, Duke Frederick finds out his parentage Orlando is exiled. In the meantime, young Orlando has fallen for the Duke’s niece Rosalind, who also comes to be banished, like her father Duke Senior, by her power hungry uncle. In the company of her cousin, Frederick’s daughter Celia flee, Rosalind taking the disguise of a young lad, Ganymeade and Celia as his sister, Aliena.  All roads lead to the Okanagan, where Duke Senior and his fellow banished nobles have founded a commune filled with peace and love. Of course nothing is simple on the path to romance, as we are reminded by Rosalind and Celia’s faithful servant, Touchstone, ‘because it’s Shakespeare’.   In the end, we of course are rewarded with the happy ending for most of the characters. 

The setting, costumes and story perfectly fit in The Beatles music, and the cast, most of whom are also the company for Macbeth, bring the music and comedy to life with flair and flares.  Nadeem Phillip brings a exuberant charm and solid vocals to his leading man Orlando. While Lindsey Angell’s Rosalind plots to connect the dots in everyone’s journey to love, her chemistry and voice pairs nicely with Nadeem making us all cheer for our lovebirds.  Harveen Sandhu as Celia standouts with her powerful vocals and charisma.  The comedic timing of Kayvon Khoshkam as the ‘Rod Stewart meets Austin Powers’ modfather, Touchstone, brings a smile and many laughs to As You Like It from start to finish.

The buzz is surely to build for As You Like It as the summer progresses so be sure to book your tickets sooner than later so not to miss out on one of the most fun evenings of theatre this season.

As You Like It runs until September 22nd at the Bard on the Beach BMO Mainstage, alternate nights with Macbeth.

Macbeth opens Bard on the Beach 2018

Macbeth

This week, the 2018 season of Bard on the Beach opened with Macbeth on the BMO Mainstage.

The famed Scottish Play, starts with the General being forewarned by a trio of witches, who prophesy that he is destined to be the King of Scots, creating a tale of ambition, treachery and murder that turns to madness and tragedy.

Directed by Chris Abraham of Toronto’s Crow’s Theatre, this production of Bard on the Beach Macbeth stars Shaw Theatre Festival veteran Ben Carlson, making his Bard debut, as Macbeth.  His Lady Macbeth is played by Moya O’Connell making a return to Bard, along with a host of other Bard veterans; Andrew Wheeler as MacDuff, Craig Erickson as Banquo, Jeff Gladstone as Malcolm and many more rounding out the able cast.

Director Abraham notes that he had in mind how this beloved play was staged in the open-air, daylight theatre in 1600s.  In contrast to the daylight of old, Abraham has created a dark production, with Carlson and O’Connell bringing must angst and madness to their roles.  Most of the main characters have a cloud of darkness and tragedy hanging over them, which does make the lighter moments of the comedy relief characters slightly jarring in their abrupt change in tempo.

The themes of loss, ambition, jealousy, suspicion, even the mysticism of the weird sisters, are treated differently in today’s society, all things that affect the production and the audiences viewpoint allowing even the most historically authentic of stagings to take on its own life.  The set, designed by Pam Johnson, plays on the open air of the BMO Mainstage to recreate the feeling of Shakespeare’s historic Globe Theatre.  With Christine Reimer’s Shakespearean costumes bringing another touch of 17th century authenticity the production tries to transport the audience to how it would have been originally staged, albeit with women playing the female roles, not men, as was required in Elizabethan London.  Running at nearly three hours, including intermission, Bard on the Beach’s Macbeth is a long but worthy show, and probably as close to an authentic Shakespearean experience as we’ll get in Vancouver.

For full cast and crew details, showtimes and special performances, please visit bardonthebeach.org/2018/macbeth