“How much better is it to weep at joy than to joy at weeping!”
~ Much Ado About Nothing
One of my favourite Vancouver summer rituals is watching Shakespeare for free outdoors (yes, for free!) in a gorgeous Granville Island setting. Tomorrow night, Carousel Theatre for Young People launches their annual production of one of the Bard’s plays.
Carousel Theatre’s Teen Shakespeare Program, which has been running for twenty-six summers, involves six weeks of intensive training for teens aged thirteen to eighteen. This pre-professional theatre training is a wonderful opportunity for developing young actors to get guidance and training in textual analysis, movement, and voice. And, working toward a public performance is a great motivator in the honing of new skills and techniques, as well as the growing of on-stage confidence. Former participants have gone on to perform in Bard on the Beach, the Stratford Festival, and Arts Club Theatre productions.
This year, the troupe has chosen Much Ado About Nothing, a beloved and crowd-pleasing romantic comedy. Popularized by Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 movie version, the play involves two potential romantic pairs, Hero and Claudio, and the clever and sarcastic Benedick and Beatrice. True to Shakespearean form, the plot centres around mistaken identities, intrigue and betrayal, and, of course, a happy ending.
The production, directed by actor and veteran instructor Mike Stack, has transported the play to the 1970s, with funky costuming choices. Expect much hilarity, witty repartee, and romantic moments. Much Ado begins with a preview tomorrow at 7:30pm (July 29) and continues until August 13, 2016 (Monday to Saturday).
The location of the play is a wonderful bonus. Performance Works Outdoor Stage (1218 Cartwright Street) is a grassy and tree-shaded spot that is ideal for Shakespearean acting.
The bleacher seating holds 135 people, which is available for FREE starting one hour before performance time. I would recommend, however, making an advance reservation ($ 5 per seat). It still makes for a very reasonable date (grab a bite before or after at one of Granville Island’s great eateries, such as The Sandbar, Dockside Restaurant, Bridges Restaurant, and Edible Canada Bistro)!
Otherwise, if you don’t manage to snag the bleacher seating, you’re welcome to spread out a blanket and sit on the grass. Dress warmly and snuggle up once the sun sets. Note: performances will be moved indoors in the event of rain.
Advance reservations are available on-line or by phone at 604-685-6217.