EQUIVOCATION by Bill Cain opens 2014 Howard Family Stage season at Bard on the Beach

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues the celebration of its 25th anniversary with the Shakespearean-themed drama Equivocation by celebrated American playwright and Jesuit priest Bill Cain. Presented earlier this spring at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, British Columbia, Equivocation marks Bard on the Beach’s first co-production. It plays Tuesdays through Sundays in the intimate 240-seat Douglas Campbell Theatre tent, on the Howard Family Stage, from July 2 to September 19 inVanier Park. 

Palace intrigue and backstage humour share the spotlight in a fascinating ode to art, politics and the dangers of negotiating both. King James’ Prime Minister has charged Shagspeare (William Shakespeare) with writing the “true history” of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. The playwright struggles to figure out where fiction stops and the facts may lead – without losing his head in the process.


It’s England, 1606, and a terrorist plot to assassinate King James I – and blow Parliament to kingdom come with 36 barrels of gunpowder – has been uncovered. Shagspeare (Bob Frazer) is commissioned by Robert Cecil, the King’s Prime Minister, to write the “true historie” of the plot. “And it must have witches! The King wants witches!”, Cecil demands. But as Shag and the acting company of the Globe (Anousha Alamian, Anton Lipovetsky, Shawn Macdonald), under the direction of the great Richard Burbage (Gerry Mackay), investigate the plot, they discover that the King’s version of the story might actually be a cover-up. Shagspeare and his actors are confronted with the ultimate moral and artistic dilemma: speak truth to power and perhaps lose their heads? Or take the money, write propaganda and lose their souls? Or could equivocation be a third option? A high-stakes political thriller with contemporary resonance, Equivocation gallops from the great Globe to the Tower of London and the halls of Parliament to Judith (Rachel Cairns), Shagspeare’s younger daughter, who finds herself unexpectedly at the very heart of the political and ultimately human mystery.


Michael Shamata is the Director of Equivocation, along with a creative team that includes: Scenery Designer Kevin McAllister,Costume Designer Nancy Bryant and Lighting Designer Alan Brodie along with Composer and Sound Designer Tobin Stokesand Fight Director Nicholas Harrison. Production Stage Manager Joanne P.B. Smith is assisted by Samara Van Nostrand(Assistant Stage Manager) and Jennifer Stewart (Apprentice Stage Manager). Apprentice Director for Equivocation is Katrina Darychuk.

Performance details for Equivocation are as follows:

  • Previews: July 2, 3, 6, 9; OPENS: July 10.
  • Runs Tuesdays through Sundays from July 2 to September 19 – on the Howard Family Stage in Vanier Park.
  • Plays in repertory with Cymbeline which begins in previews July 4.
Play ticket prices (adults) include all fees & taxes and are $47 (evenings) and $33 to $35 (previews, matinees and long weekend evenings) with a $27 Global BC Youth Rate (6-25 years, all play performances). Prices for special events, groups and multi-play ticket package discounts can be found on the Bard website. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection (all seats are reserved). The performance schedule can also be found on the Bard website at www.bardonthebeach.org. For more information and tickets, call 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559 or order online through the Bard website. 

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