Friday, July 24, 2015
Many years ago in high school, The Tempest was the first (and for years, the only) Shakespeare play that I liked. I think it was perhaps the language and scenes within the play were something that I could understand without much "translation". I knew what was going on so the story stuck with me.
Then, just a few years ago when I had my interest in Shakespeare re-kindled, The Tempest was one of the first plays I re-read. It has always held a special place for me as my gateway back into Shakespeare as an adult.
I first became aware of Bear and Company last year when I first saw them perform the Comedy of Errors. After seeing several high-production plays in Stratford, Bear and Company were one of the first to show me the "Shakespeare in the Park" experience where troupes use little more than an occasional chair or table as a prop (apart from costumes). I was hooked! I know it sounds corny, but it is true that the language of the play itself is enough to keep me invested and, when the actors are gifted, I found I didn't need much in the way of props and stage decorations to enjoy the experience.
A really fun and well-done production that I saw in Kanata in Walter Baker Park (Behind the Ron Maslin Playhouse). The players make an effort to get the audience involved in portions of the play (though for this night everyone seemed to forget the suggested water gun to scare away the rogues and were forced into variations of barking). The interactions between Miranda and Ferdinand were fun to watch and performed in a way I hadn't seen before. Past plays always seem to have them act so serious, Bear and Company made them a little more flirty and fun which I enjoyed.
Stand-outs for me were Hannah Leigh Ehman who played Miranda and Zoe Georgaras as Ariel. Ariel was a very interesting take as Ms. Georgaras obviously has some history and experience in fire-dancing which she incorporated into Ariels performances which was truly original and added to the effect of Ariel being "Magic".
I wish they performed more than one Shakespeare play, as now I have to wait all the way to next summer to see what is next! But in the meantime, for other productions, Bear and Company also perform non-Shakespeare plays at The Gladstone Theatre.
A Bear and Company production