Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MSF Scoops Stratford?

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario has just announced its 2010 Season. In what may seem to some to be a copy-cat move and what might seem to others to be an instance of "great minds think alike", the flagship productions at Stratford in 2010 are the VERY SAME plays that were just put on in Jackson, Michigan at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, to great criticial acclaim. Kudos to John Neville-Andrews! We at Oberon are certainly sad to see him leaving the MSF (see previous blog entry for more).

Anyway, the two "big" productions of Shakespeare plays at the Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ontario in 2010 will be The Tempest (starring Christopher Plummer as Prospero) and As You Like It (with Brent Carver as Jacques). There will also be two other Shakespeare plays (The Winter's Tale at the small Tom Patterson theatre and The Two Gentleman of Verona at the even smaller Studio Theatre). I guess it's Shakespeare for all sizes next year!

Well, I think it's good that Stratford is doing some of "the Bard's" lesser known works again (even if they are in smaller theatres so the Festival can put on "money-makers" at the larger theatres) [Hint of cynicism there]. I may have to rethink my original opinion of new Artistic Director Des McAnuff.

To round off the theatrical banquet on tap in 2010 at Stratford will be the musicals Kiss Me Kate and Evita, Dangerous Liasons, Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris (also with Brent Carver), Peter Pan, and three new Canadian plays (which I don't know much about): For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Do Not Go Gentle, and King of Thieves. All in all, it looks like a great time. I can't wait!

However, let's not forget that the 2009 Season is still going strong! I have already seen the productions of Macbeth and A Midsummers Night's Dream and I am planning to return (hopefully with some Oberoners) to see Julius Caesar. Also on tap is a rare opportunity to see Ben Jonson's Bartholmew Fair and compare his style with Shakespeare's (you will quickly see that the two playwrights come from completely different backgrounds and cultural viewpoints).

Isn't it great that we Oberoners have two such wonderful places to go to see Shakespeare (Jackson and Stratford), even if end up seeing the same plays over and over?

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