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Monday, June 17, 2019

A chance to get your fill of the Bard

The sun is shining, the summer is here and it is time for Shakespeare in the Park.

The Elora Community Theatre is getting ready to start their third season of the outdoor play series with a Shakespeare classic, Much Ado About Nothing.

For those that aren’t familiar with the play, the plot surrounds deceit, pride, marriage and family relationships. It all gets a bit much for the characters, but as director and Shakespeare in the Park founder Deb Stanson says, everyone lives happily ever after.

Widely considered one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, the host of characters make life decisions based on false information. For example, Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar on the erroneous belief that she has been unfaithful. There’s plenty of deception in the air.

“I love the whole thing about deceit in the play. Everyone is trying to deceive each other constantly, and the relationships,” said Stanson. “This one doesn’t think that this one likes them, but they do, and there is that whole thing about relationships in the play. Between the men, the men and women and the families.”

The summer series, which closes out with performances of The Tempest, starts up on July 15 at the Elora Community Theatre’s new outdoor location in Bissel Park. The show runs on weekends, with both afternoon and evening performances.

The Elora Community Theatre cast of Much Ado About Nothing has been rehearsing in their new outdoor space ahead of Shakespeare in the Park’s opening performance on July 15.[Submitted]
The Elora Community Theatre cast of Much Ado About Nothing has been rehearsing in their new outdoor space ahead of Shakespeare in the Park’s opening performance on July 15. [Submitted]
Bring a chair when you stop by, she suggests.

“It is a BYOC,” she laughed, adding that audiences won’t be sitting through nearly three hours of Shakespeare. “What we have done, too, is that it is a condensed version. We don’t lose any of the integrity of the plot, but to do the full show would take about two and a half hours and we don’t think that people will sit outside like that for two and a half hours. This one is about an hour and fifteen minutes. We have condensed it.”

Now that the weather has gotten a bit nicer, and a bit hotter, she says the cast have started rehearsing outside, getting used to their new space.

“The last two years, we used the green space right downtown, which is great because it has high visibility, but the noise level is just too high, even with our outdoor head microphones,” she said. “There is also shade, and it gets hot when you are out in the beating sun like that. There are trees where we are performing. We offer something else for the tourists who come to the village to do, as well as our local people.”

She hopes to get a few audience members that are unfamiliar with Shakespeare to come out and give it a try.

“It is a classic, and I love Shakespeare. I think it is a really good introduction to Shakespeare for someone who hasn’t been to see a full production at Stratford – we have heard that in that past from people. They really enjoy it, and we were able to get the plotline through, and understand it. That is part of it for me, is to pass on the classics,” she said. “With the actors,  a lot of them have never performed Shakespeare, so it is an opportunity for them to do that. It is not usually done in community theatre. I love the play too because there is the combination of dance, music, singing and obviously the acting component of it. It has everything. It has tragedies, big time drama, and of course the laughs.”

Admission is by donation at the end of the performances. For a full list of performances, visit www.eloracommunitytheatre.com.

Liz Bevan
Liz Bevanhttps://observerxtra.com
Liz Bevan is a reporter and photographer for The Observer. She has written for community newspapers in western Canada and has been published in national newspapers and magazines.

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