Comedy, tragedy in the park

Shakespeare Society takes on Hamlet, Comedy of Errors

The Victoria Shakespeare Society is once again bringing theatre outdoors for the ninth annual Shakespeare in the Summer Festival. This year’s offerings include Hamlet, a classic tragedy with a twist, and Comedy of Errors, a timeless farcical comedy about mistaken identities.

Artistic Director Michael Glover says, “Every year we do something a little different. This year director David MacPherson decided to go with a female Hamlet. It really makes her relationship with Ophelia interesting.”

The role of Hamlet is played by Melissa Blank, but it’s not what you think. In this rendition, Hamlet is not only female, she’s a lesbian. “She’s really sort of a drag king,” Glover says with a laugh. “I’ve seen Hamlet played by a female, but I’m not sure anything like this has been done in Victoria before.”

Hamlet will play every Wednesday and Friday until July 29, and then Monday, Wednesday and Friday until Aug. 12.

Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins who were accidentally separated at birth. Laughs ensue when they all end up in the same town and inevitably get mistaken for one another.

“This play is great for kids because of the pacing — it’s very high action,” says Glover, adding the players will be in modern dress. “This is a timeless story. It’s not a play that needs to be set in a certain period.”

Comedy of Errors plays Thursdays and Saturdays until July 30, then Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday until Aug. 13.

Both plays take place at the Camosun College Lansdown campus. Parking is in the lot of Lansdown Road. People are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets and to dress warmly.

“We make our stage with the natural surroundings,” says assistant artistic director Ryan Levis.

This is Glover’s final year as artistic director. “I’m stepping down. It’s a full-time job on top of a full-time job and I can’t maintain that pace anymore. It’s been a tremendous struggle with the provincial government bowing out with funding.”  M

 

tickets

Tickets are $22 for adults or $32 for both shows.

Students and seniors pay $16 for one show or $26 for two.

Children under 12 are free.

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