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  Weekly Feature (August 5, 2007)


Shakespeare Alfresco: Bard on the Beach
Jennifer's Weekly Feature


What: Bard on the Beach, a Vancouver summer Shakespeare festival
Where: Under the big tents at Vanier Park, across from English Bay
Who: Local professional actors When: May 31-September 23/07
Why: Because plays are about us

Now in its 18th year, Bard on the Beach has come a long way from its single canvas tent on the beach - and no gift shop! Bard is Vancouver's annual summer Shakespeare festival set in a spectacularly beautiful, natural, jewel-like setting under the big red-and-white striped tents at Vanier Park, across from English Bay. It's really Shakespeare-on-the-beach. It's hard to do the setting justice, but I'll try to describe it.

The main stage, of several, is open at its back, with sky, sea and endless horizon forming the open back wall of the theatre - it's a breathtaking panorama, fronted with the best of the English-speaking world's comedy and tragedy. The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar and Timon of Athens are this summer's offerings and they run in repertory from May 31-Sept. 23/07, with afternoon and evening shows. Be sure to get your tickets in advance, as shows are regularly sold out.

Highlight: The Taming of the Shrew

What's a shrew? A shrew is a woman with ideas of her own different from those of her culture. And therein lies the fun! This brisk, action-packed comedy offers something to everyone who's ever been in a relationship that didn't go smoothly - and that's most of us!

Katerina's a woman who at first refuses any attempts to dim her dominant personality only to eventually capitulate to an equally feisty hero, Petruchio (or, Kate and Peter). Updated to the Old West, "Padua City" in the 1800's, this western take on the fierce battle between the sexes directly plays to our funny bone, even briefly featuring Pete (Petruchio), Katy's would-be suitor, as a Clint Eastwood clone. It's funny, a must-see, and says a lot about relationships today.

Bard on the Beach Special Events
From a barbecue and fireworks night (see Cheryl's "Fireworks" Weekly Feature July 16/07) to an evening with the opera and Tuesday get-to-know plot and theme nights, Bard on the Beach offers education, fun, and superb spectacle and staging for updated, up-to-the minute, contemporary appeal. Shakespeare is relevant. The Bard would agree.

Following are three sites to access easy Shakespeare materials:

Shakespeare for Dummies

Shakespeare Made Easy

This gives access to a number of plays: Absolute Shakespeare

Explore England's new Globe Theatre. This also has a ticket link, if you're London-bound.


Visit Last Week's Feature:

Tennis Anyone?

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