Originally published on August 14, 2019.
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It’s hard to believe but A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens on the waterfront stage at Island Lake next Thursday August 22nd. Why is it hard? Because we have been actively plotting and planning to make it happen for the last two years and dreaming about it for the last two decades. Me for years. David for decades.
What makes this production so special is its scale, its motivation and its roots. This is the biggest, most expensive production Theatre Orangeville has ever done its 25-year history. Twenty-four actors, a full Sweet Adelines’ chorus, a sixty-foot stage and $100K budget.
What motivates us is inclusion. This production spans ages and abilities and puts all actors whether professional, community, from Young Company or Creative Partners on Stage on the same stage, with the same rigour, same respect, and same expectations as each other.
The roots of this production go back in our history. Both Colin Simmons our director and Dan Reale our associate director started in Theatre Orangeville youth programs. Colin was the first Ralphie in A Christmas Story on our mainstage and cut his teeth at the Stratford Festival after graduating from Sheridan’s theatre program. Dan is not far behind. He just directed our Theatre for Young Audiences tour of Tree Boy and just graduated from George Brown Theatre School. Sara Birkin was also a Young Company grad and Debbie Collins has graced our stage numerous times. And who can resist David in full beard as the Duke of Athens?
What makes this production so much fun is the joy this company brings. Everyone knows this is a big deal and unlikely to be replicated anytime soon. Colin’s deft hand makes the story sing and the script approachable. This is not the Shakespeare you dreaded in third-period English.
It's a rom-com set in an enchanted wood where human and fairy lovers quarrel, get confused by love potions, and players perform a play within a play while the Duke makes plans to marry his Amazon Queen. Worried about the kids? Check out Booklore. Nancy Frater has copies of Lois Burdett's charming and approachable Shakespeare for Kids version.
See you at the Lake, rain or shine. Dress for the weather, bring a chair and pick up your tickets in advance at the Visitor Centre. I’ll be the staff person with fairy wings!