I almost didn’t go out tonight. SO close to just giving in to a case of grumpiness, sitting at home, watching my brand-new box set of SUPER ROBOT RED BARON…
…but somehow, I managed to rouse myself from this obviously wicked cool temptation and bike my lazy ass out to…where was it? Right, Clare Gardens Park, somewhere in the wilderness of westboro. Yes, it was finally time to get my fool on! Specifically, A Company of Fools summertime production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by Bill something-or-other, which has been doing the rounds of area parks for a few weeks now. I’ve been neglecting them, and I’m sorry.
Though it certainly seemed like they hadn’t been missing me, as the park was right packed by the time 7 o’clock rolled around tonite. I was apparently the only genuine fool in the audience, ie: I was the only one not packing a chair, and had to settle for leaning back on some freshly returfed hillock, like a proper bophemian boy oughtta. Don’t tell me I’M not keeping it real. I also forgot to bring any bug spray, but it proved unnecessary. Enough folks in my immediate vicinity were spraying the stuff on themseves in half-can shots at a time that insect life nearby stood little chance. I’m not sure just what these people were expecting, really.
But enough of the unwashed masses, of which I was most definitely one, it was showtime! The lights went down, the curtains rose…ok, none of that happened. I had new rules to learn for an outdoor performance, but anyways, the show began. A small sectional stage and a tent for quick changes (of which there were plenty) were the set, a cavalcade of colourful costumes from Sarah Waghorn, and six fools were all we had for ninety minutes. Okay, sorry…ninety AWESOME minutes. I was more familiar with the fellas in this production than the ladies (Oh, for shame,Visitor, for shame) and it was great seeing David Whiteley doing something besides clawing the eyes out of the local theatre scene in THE BEER TENT Fringe series. And he was a delight. Quick, funny as all get-out…well, that describes the whole company, really. Everyone partook of multiple roles in Shakespeare’s most fairy-filled comedy, and probably as perfect a fodder for an outdoor summer performance as you could hope for. Richard Gelinas was on fuckin’ fire throughout the show (which is maybe why they kept dousing him with cold water..?), deftly bantering with the audience on occasion, which given the amount of children in attendance was no mean feat.
But as I say everyone…Gelinas, Whitely, Brad Long, Stephanie Iszak, Katie Ryerson and Cari Leslie, they ALL shone, no weak spots in the bunch. Al Connors, also with Crush Improv, directed the merry heck out of this play, giving it just the right amounts of sexy and funny, adding a few modern touches along with the classic and the fantastical. Maybe not enough of the fantastical for the two little monsters I got stuck next to for half the play, who kept moaning aloud about ‘when they donkey-man was gonna show up!’ But, hey, unwashed masses, right? This is how it was DONE, son, in Bill Shakes’ day, and the Fools are keeping the tradition alive right here in O-town.
Now as I said, I’m a little late to the Fools’ game this year, so there’s only 9 performances left. But on the other hand, THERE ARE STILL 9 PERFORMANCES LEFT. Go see one! Click that link up there, see where it’s playing (Hintonburg’s Reid Park tomorrow night!) and get out for some great entertainment. It’s a pay-what-you-can deal, the company is suggesting ten dollars a person, but would it kill you to kick in a few bucks more? I think not. Get a tee-shirt while you’re at it, be the coolest kid on your block. Fool it up a little.
Thanks for shooing away my mean reds, Fools. Have a killer run, and I’ll see you next year,