Refreshing Revamp of a Wild West inspired The Taming of the Shrew kicks off the 30th season of Bard on the Beach

Refreshing Revamp of a Wild West inspired The Taming of the Shrew Kicks off the 30th Season of Bard on the Beach

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival opens its 30th Anniversary Season in Vanier Park with a refreshing interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s more controversial works, The Taming of the Shrew.

Featuring Jennifer Lines as Kate and Andrew McNee as Petruchio, this season’s production is inspired by the Bard’s beloved 2007 Wild West production of the play, directed by Miles Potter. The 2019 production is directed by Lois Anderson (Lysistrata, 2018; Pericles, 2016).

“Kate is our protagonist,” enthuses Anderson. “This entire play is about her journey towards identity, selfhood and finding out how she can define her life. I think it’s very important right now to tell a story of rebellion with a female protagonist. The villain in this piece is not Petruchio—he is her ally. Kate’s conflict is with a society that holds her to a certain expectation: that she will become a goodly wife and pass on a huge dowry to a man.”

For this sometimes-controversial play, Anderson has revamped the script so that some of Petruchio’s lines are spoken by Kate—a move Anderson believes honours Shakespeare’s original vision for his characters.

“When the playbill went up for The Taming of the Shrew in Elizabethan times, everyone would have thought they were going to see the comical tale of a marriage in the vein of ‘Punch and Judy’ – but Shakespeare challenged that old trope by staging a profound love story between a husband and wife,” adds Anderson. “He tells a story of two kindred spirits; two soul mates who are equally matched: mentally and physically. There is no taming in this story.  We’re just watching two people encounter each other, trying to comprehend each other, while they are falling in love.”

Joining the cast alongside Lines and McNee are Ghazal Azarbad, Scott Bellis, Kate Besworth, Andrew Cownden, Victor Dolhai, Austin Eckert, Charlie Gallant, Ming Hudson, Anton Lipovetsky, Susinn McFarlen, Paul Moniz de Sá, Chirag Naik, Kamyar Pazandeh, Jason Sakaki and Joel Wirkkunen.

Set Designer Cory Sincennes contrasts a ‘civilized’ town with the wide-open wilderness in his Wild West set, complemented by Costume Designer Mara Gottler’s designs, which showcase the sense of personal reinvention that permeated American society after the Civil War. Sound Designer Malcolm Dow creates a spaghetti western-inspired soundscape, using Mark Desormeaux’ original 2007 compositions. Additional members of the production team include Jonathan Hawley Purvis (Fight Director and Choreographer), Gerald King (Lighting Designer), Tai Amy Grauman (Directing Apprentice), Kimira Bhikum (Assistant Set Designer), Celeste English (Assistant Lighting Designer),Alaia Hamer (Assistant Costume Designer) and Alison Matthews (Head Voice & Text Coach). The Stage Management team includes Stephen Courtenay (Production Stage Manager), Rebecca Mulvihill (Assistant Stage Manager) and Heather Barr (Apprentice Stage Manager).

Dates of note for The Taming of the Shrew include:

The Taming of the Shrew – June 5 to September 21 – Opening Night June 16

Exploring Shakespeare – July 6 at 11am, presented by Simon Fraser University’s Paul Budra

Forum: Kate – Victim or Victor? – August 26 at 7:30pm (Howard Family Stage)

Bard-B-Q & Fireworks –July 31 & August 3: play performance plus dinner and entertainment

Family Days – July 6, August 10 & August 24 at 2pm; activities plus Mainstage play performances

Talkback Tuesdays – Starting July 2 through to August 27, join members of the cast for lively Q & A sessions after each Tuesday evening performance

Wine Wednesdays – July 10, August 7, August 21 & September 4 at 6pm (pre-show events)

Accessible Performances – VocalEye – July 21 & August 10; Relaxed Performance – Sept 8

Ticket prices include all fees & taxes and start at $26 for all regular play performances. Youth Price tickets, sponsored by Global BC, are available for patrons ages 6 to 22, at 50% off regular adult prices. Prices for special events, group bookings and multi-play ticket packages can be found online at bardonthebeach.org or by calling the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection (all seats are reserved) and because many performances sell out in advance.

Bard on the Beach gratefully acknowledges the corporate sponsors who support and sustain the Festival and its programs. 2019 sponsors include Season Sponsor Goldcorp; Production Sponsors Avison Young, Lawson Lundell, BlueShore Financial and Lonetree Cider; Season Media Sponsors The Vancouver Sun and Global BC, as well as many other valued sponsors and partners. Bard also thanks the City of Vancouver Cultural Services Department, the Vancouver Park Board, the Province of British Columbia, the BC Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their continuing support.

About Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals. Established in 1990, the annual summer festival’s mission is to perform, explore and celebrate the genius of William Shakespeare, surrounded by the natural beauty of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Bard also offers year-round education and training programs for youth, adults and theatre professionals in its administrative home at the BMO Theatre Centre in Olympic Village as well as in schools and community facilities throughout the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

Media release and image provided by Cynnamon Schreinert, Hartley PR. Feature image: Andrew McNee & Jennifer Lines, The Taming of the Shrew (2019) Photo & Image Design: Emily Cooper

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