I planned to write a different post this week. Seeing the online version of the play Taking Shakespeare a couple of days ago changed my mind (or course, if you want to follow the cheesy caravan pun.)
I am growing increasingly weary of all things on a screen. Perhaps you are, too? (Oh, I admit there are many advantages to using Zoom and new horizons to explore via YouTube, but, as in all things, a balance is necessary. Acknowledging the irony, I sincerely thank you for reading this post – on a screen.) I have a subscription to the Belfry Theatre and almost reluctantly tuned in to the final production of their spring season.
My reluctance was short lived. Taking Shakespeare by John Murrell is an extremely well written play. An award winning writer, Murrell also translated plays, and wrote librettos. He received a Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2008. The Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia provides a brief summary of his prolific works, as well as his interesting life.
The realistic dialogue, and the authentic characterizations are brought to life by excellent actors. Patti Allan and Austin Eckert are both experienced stage and screen performers. Allan, as the professor, gave a particularly nuanced performance of a cynical professional woman of a certain age tutoring the seemingly apathetic, directionless student.
As with other visual performing arts, the success of the online presentation also depends significantly on the skills of the the videographer. Candelario Andrade presents a simple, but very effective delivery of the play. I was able to concentrate on the characters’ relationship, as well as focus on them as individuals. (You may want to watch his Video Editor demo reel .)
The good news is that you can watch the play, too. It’s available until Sunday, June 13. Tickets are available from the Belfry Theatre. I highly recommend it.