Thursday, September 1, 2011

When dead chicks come back to life...

A Winter's Tale
Dream in High Park
Attended: Aug. 31, 2011

Shakespeare in High Park has been one of my favourite summer theatre options. Hundreds gather with picnic baskets and blankets, cuddling on grassy hillside amphitheatre seating, and enjoy the starry night sky and the hum of crickets behind the live stage production.

This year they featured The Winter's Tale. I was so pleased by the exaggerated comedy elements, particularly that of the "bear" (portrayed by a young man in a polar bear loin cloth, white furry leg warmers and arm warmers, and a large stuffed polar bear head) dancing out to rhythmic music before taking Antigonus offstage. How can anyone forget that famous stage direction, "Exit, pursued by a bear"?

This play argualby had the most hilarious Hermione portrayal. Usually I see her portrayed as a straight character of mourning mother. The CanStage version had her put on exaggerated facial expressions, hyperbolic fits of anger and grief, and a campy attitude towards her mysterious "statue of deceased Hermione comes back to life" at the end of the play, magically correcting the last of many wrong-doings that set the play in motion.

This play continues until Sept. 4th. Get there early, and be prepared for weather and sitting on the ground. (I'm not kidding about getting there early -- I went on a Wednesday (last night) and arrived an hour and a half early, and spots were hard to come by).

With a suggested donation of $20 (i.e. not obligatory if you can't afford the full amount), I think it's a bargain for the student and the ardent artsy bargain hunter.

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