For their 32nd season, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan has prepared something a little different for audiences. Not only are they expanding to three shows, but they’re putting a post-modern twist on a Shakespeare classic while still keeping with their ‘something for everyone’ ethos.
Under the vision of artistic producer Will Brooks and directed by Anita Smith, they’ve turned the story of Julius Caesar into the story of Julia Caesar in their all-female production. Adapted by Canadian playwright Tracy Power, Brooks says J. Caesar gives them opportunity to let their female actors shine in a way they rarely get to do.
“In most of Shakespeare’s plays there are great roles for women, but they’re normally off to the side a bit. By doing an all-female version, we get a chance to give all the meaty roles to our female talent and bring in these fantastic voices and artistic points of view we don’t get the chance to show our audiences very much.”
Having women play every role isn’t the only twist however. No longer is the story set in ancient Rome. Now it takes places in the year 2416, after 400 years of natural disasters. In the new world, fearless and vengeful women warriors fight for water against tyrannical ruler Julia Caesar.
“We thought this adaptation was a really great opportunity for our audiences to see something a little different. It’s really fast and exciting, edited down to a high energy play with all the fights, guts and glory,” Brooks says.
J. Caesar is the first major production for local director Anita Smith. After working as an actor for years, she’s brought her unique vision to the stage, and Brooks says to expect great things from her in the coming years.
Normally audiences are treated to two Shakespeare productions in a season, but this year an exciting third play will take audiences on an adventure right down to the Saskatchewan River.
The Roving Show injects improvisational comedy into the normal proceedings. Not to give away the surprise of what happens, when the audiences arrives they’ll find four male actors left with nothing to do since all the roles in J.Caesar are played by females. So what do they do? They take the audience with them as they create their own version of The Tempest by the seat of their pants.
It’s directed by Josh Beaudry, one of Saskatchewan’s finest improvisers and comedians who has a great mind for creating off the wall theatre.
“It’s irreverent, silly and fun,” Brooks says, “and it takes our audience off the beaten path down to the river. We have the pleasure of performing in one of the most beautiful parts of Saskatoon, and The Roving Show gives us a chance to interact with our wonderful surroundings.”
To headline the festival, they’ve chosen Shakespeare’s most quintessential comedy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directed by Brooks, “it’s the one we all know well, and it’s fondly remembered by all who’ve seen it. It’s just a great bit of fun and we always like to make sure we have that in our productions.”
It’s easier than ever to take in Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan with a new partnership with Prairie Lily Riverboat Tours, located just down the river from the theatre. When you book a tour with Prairie Lily and a Shakespeare main stage play on the same day at www.theprairielily.comyou save a total of $10, turning a night at the theatre into even more of an event.
New this summer is a province-wide partnership with a large group of Saskatchewan arts and culture festivals selling tickets in an exciting summer-long raffle. As part of the great Saskatchewan tradition of 50/50 lotteries one lucky single cash prize winner will walk away with HALF of the total prize pot! 50/50 tickets can be purchased here.
Productions run from July 6 to August 21, with tickets on sale now. They can be bought from Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan’s box office: to experience riveting and inventive theatre on the shores of the south Saskatchewan.
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