A cast of local actors will be bringing Shakespeare’s classic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to life in a backyard in Barrie, Aug. 30 to Sept. 8. Shakespeare has been absent from the local theatre scene for the past two years.
“The idea of doing in it in our backyard – I did a bit of it when I was living in Toronto – is there are so few spaces in Barrie that are affordable for a start-up company,” said director Iain Moggach. “Because of the nature of the play it actually fits in an intimate backyard area very well. The play is set around this wedding, there’s a party feel, the action happens in a forest, there’s magic, lights in the trees and, if it rains, there are solutions.”
Moggach said he is remaining true to the traditional storyline but it will be slightly abridged. It’s one of his favourite comedies. He’s loved and worked on Shakespeare most of his life and this is a project he and partner Marissa Caldwell have wanted to do for some time.
Caldwell is one of a cast of 11 local actors, many of whom had never had a chance to work together. The Barrie actor has been involved in a number of productions across Ontario, including the Ottawa Fringe Festival and Theatre by the Bay’s (TBTB) We Must Have more Men, which was staged in various spots in Simcoe County last year.
Theatregoers will recognize a number of emerging, independent actors in this show. Heather Dennis was in Shakespeare’s As You Like It for Theatre Georgian Bay this summer as well as TBTB last year.
Stephen Dobb is an emerging actor who has appeared in many South Simcoe Theatre shows along with a couple for TBTB. Another Barrie actor, Frank Kewin, a professional psychotherapist by trade, turns comedian for this show, playing one of the great comedic characters, Bottom. He has also appeared in the past at shows in Cookstown, and the Orillia Opera House.
Comedic actor, Kristen Keller, has been featured in numerous improv performances with a regional troupe called the Town Hall Players. She is from Midland.
Orillia actors include Craig Mainprize, who has worked in and around the city but marks his first Barrie show with A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Michael Abernethy who frequents musical theatre shows.
Rounding out the cast are: Olivia Lloyd, who appeared most recently in Onstage Performance Group’s production of The Ghosts of Halfway House; Robert Knapp, who has been part of the Simcoe County theatre scene for many years and returns to the stage to play his first Shakespeare show; and Richard Varty, an actor, director with SST and assistant director for TBTB’s summer show Northern Lights; and Harley Caldwell, a canine actor, who has her own Instagram page will play two parts.
“Midsummer is fun,” said Moggach, who has acted in shows from the time he was a child and more recently moved into directing. “It’s such as great exploration of love and there’s a fantastic subplot. It’s so classic and legendary and I’ve never had a chance to direct it.”
Visit brownpapertickets.com/event/3556369 for tickets.
Photo: Some of the cast of Shakespeare’s classic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, rehearse for the play which will be staged in a Barrie backyard August 30 to September 8.