‘Bard on Bower’ performances now running

Shows include The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Antony & Cleopatra

Bard on Bower is back for its seventh year with Antony & Cleopatra and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, both by William Shakespeare.

Presented by Prime Stock Theatre Company, The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy, directed by Eric Pettifor, while Antony & Cleopatra is a tragedy, directed by Albertus Koett.

Koett said they are setting Antony & Cleopatra in New York City in the early 1970s

“Instead of the rulers of the world as the original script is, these are street-wise, up and coming gang types, and so instead of countries and continents, they rule streets and allies,” he said.

Pettifor said The Two Gentlemen of Verona starts with two really good friends in Verona.

One of them goes off to Milan and falls in love with the Duke’s daughter Silvia who is betrothed to someone else. The other one is in Verona, who is in love with Julia, but then goes off to Milan and falls in love with Sylvia, too.

Pettifor described Proteus, the friend who was in love with Julia, as a proper villain, betraying his friend and getting him banished.

“He’s almost like a Richard III, except set in the context of a comedy,” said Pettifor with a laugh.

Using the same cast in both plays, there are 12 actors in the Antony & Cleopatra performance, playing about 16 characters and 10 actors in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, also playing a few different parts.

Koett said the challenges came through in understanding the text of Shakespeare.

He said making that accessible to the audience when you are doing Shakespeare is always at the forefront of the challenge.

“So putting that through the characters and the actors and getting that out to the audience so that the audience can understand the journey that these characters are going on I think is an important part,” said Koett.

He said they tackle that by understanding and knowing the text and what it means, and once they understand what it means, they can help make it more accessible to the audience, because the actors’ intentions, objectives and goals drive forward the action.

The cast of Antony & Cleopatra had a total of 19 rehearsals starting at the beginning of June, meeting about three to four times a week.

When going about the audition process, Prime Stock puts out the audition call with actors coming in with prepared classical pieces.

“Prior to that, each director has to come up with a vision for the show and a break-down of characters and what we see those characters as – and then we will see actors,” said Koett.

He said for himself, he organically feels things out when it comes to selecting actors for each character.

“My belief, and it’s a belief shared by many directors, is that 80 per cent to 90 per cent of our job as directors is putting together the best cast possible, so casting is my number one job and then everything after that a director just leads the cast through,” he said.

Playing Antony is Stefan Theriault, a local actor who just graduated last year from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.

Cleopatra is played by Alecia Pagnotta, who is studying musical theatre at the University of Ohio.

Pagnotta also plays Sylvia in the other performance.

Playing Valentine, who Pettifor calls the good guy is Zachary Strom, who has quite an experience in improv.

Playing Proteus is Mihai Alex Dan, who also has an acting background.

Meanwhile, Koett said the community feedback for Bard on Bower over the years has been great.

“Steadily every year the audience gets bigger and bigger. It’s a fun event,” he said.

Both plays take place on the Bower Ponds Stage.

Antony & Cleopatra takes place July 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 23rd and 27th at 7 p.m. with a matinee on at 1 p.m. on July 22nd and 29th.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona takes place July 20th, 21st, 22nd, 26th, 28th and 29th at 7 p.m. with the matinee at 1 p.m. July 23rd and 30th at the same location.

Just Posted

Nine-year-old raises thousands to help Red Deer animals

Jayda’s annual fundraiser to make sizeable donation to the Central Alberta Humane Society

WATCH: Red Deer River Bend officially opens enhancements

Trails and biathlon areas brought up to regulation for 2019 Canada Winter Games

Turning Point’s NightReach workers dedicated to helping others

Red Deer-based workers find fulfillment in making life changing connections

Alberta judge cleared in case where sex assault victim was shackled, jailed

Judicial council: Judge Raymond Bodnarek acted on Crown’s advice, tried to minimize victim’s hardship

Red Deerian making her mark in L.A.

Gina Omilon’s latest work includes Tragedy Girls

WATCH: Red Deer to host WHL Bantam Draft and WHL Awards

Hockey Alberta also working to host 2019 Alberta Cup to create a new hockey festival

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Sask. school shooter to be sentenced as adult

The man was just shy of his 18th birthday when he killed four people and injured seven others

Internet questions PM’s fashion choices in India

The Trudeaus’ eight-day visit has been dogged by various controversies since it began Feb. 17

Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Tina Fontaine was pulled from a river in 2014, her body wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks

Maritimes want their own CFL team

Their biggest hurdle is getting a stadium commitment in place

Judicial council finds no misconduct by Alberta judge of Aboriginal sex assault victim

Hearing after complaints of alleged poor treatment of woman with pseudonym Angela Cardinal

Suspected serial killer targeting Toronto gay community now faces six murder charges

Bruce McArthur now charged with murders of six men: Toronto police

Trump suggests more guns in schools to combat shootings

Trump floats two-step plan for gun control: More guns, more control

Most Read