Jun. 27, 2012 - Issue #871: Edmonton 2012
Freewill Shakespeare Festival
Heritage Amphitheatre, Hawrelak Park, $17 – $25, $40 festival pass
Shakespeare is a theatre staple in all facets of the industry, from education to full-scale festivals dedicated to telling his legendary stories. Now, in its 24th season, our local summertime take on the Bard, the Freewill Shakespeare Festival, hosted by Free Will Players, is performing Julius Caesar and The Tempest.
There's no one answer to what has made Shakespeare's work timeless, but for Amber Borotsik, who is making her first Freewill appearance as Ariel in The Tempest, it comes down to the works' ability to articulate something rich and honest that's relatable to her life hundreds of years after the piece was written.
"For me it's in the language, both just the poetry and the beauty of it but there's some things that he says in the writing that are like, 'Oh my god I feel like that in my normal boring everyday life in 2012,'" she adds.
For Nathan Cuckow, who plays Caliban in The Tempest and Marc Anthony in Julius Caesar, it comes down to the scope of Shakespeare's storytelling, where everything is portrayed with a heightened sensibility, whether it be love or something more diabolical.
"The themes of his plays are varied, and I think go to the core of what it means to be a human and I think people universally can connect to that," adds Cuckow, who will be making his fourth appearance in the festival.
Through the festival, Free Will Players aim to to make Shakespeare accessible to people of all demographics, regardless of education or experience with the work. The stories can be daunting due to the language barrier, but once audiences get past that, they'll find there's more to relate to than they originally thought, as many of the plots deal with different facets of human nautre and have some elements of comedy.
"I'm not a Shakespearean actor and that's my deal, but I just find that cutting to the root of these plays, which is just about the human condition and focusing on that essential truth is a real key to making it accessible to people," Borotsik says, adding freedom is a key theme in many of the stories, including The Tempest. "I think everyone can feel that longing for freedom, whether they're just totally mired under this insane work schedule ... and just that longing for time for freedom, for a sense of ease."
"For the first 10 minutes or so, you don't understand it. It's kind of a magical thing when you start to kind of absorb it and understand it without really knowing what it is," Cuckow adds. "I mean, there's a poetic kind of aspect to the text that some people are drawn to. Shakespeare certainly had a way with words, and for others, you know, I think coming down to the park and seeing it in this context, having it be performed outdoors, there's something magic that's associated with that." vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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