Vancouver’s annual summer tradition, Bard on the Beach, opens its 2010 season on June 10th (delayed from its original opening of June 3rd) with Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Along with local gay director Dean Paul Gibson, Much Ado also features two gay Vancouver actors, Allan Morgan and Shawn Macdonald. In our first of two parts, we catch-up with Morgan who talks to us about Bard on the Beach and the importance of baked goods.
While for Morgan, who plays dual roles in Much Ado, there appears to be no secret in getting ready to perform Shakespeare, it does apparently, include baking.
“Preparing to do Shakespeare is the same as any other: read the play, understand the words, sign the contract,” he explained. “And then decide what baked goods to bring the first day”.
And while Morgan wasn’t telling us what pastries he ended up bringing with him to his first rehearsal, he did talk about the downside and pluses to working under the tents, which have become the signature for Bard on the Beach, in Vanier Park.
“I’m not really enamoured of the porta-potties, and it can get pretty chilly during the fall and spring. Rain is not our friend either,” admitted Morgan. “However, there is nothing like waiting to make your entrance onto the stage, and looking up and seeing the North Shore Mountains, or an eagle circling overhead”
As for being distracted by the spectacular view, Allan says that while there are lots of distractions for the actors in their outside setting, the view is actually not one of them.
“Disco boats, helicopters, car alarms, raucous partiers top the distraction list for the actors. There was even a couple copulating on a picnic table behind the tent which drew a fair bit of focus!”
Morgan also talks fondly of the camaraderie in the tents which he says lends a certain circus feel to the proceedings and of the garden space the actors create which serves as their green room.
“There [in the garden] listening to the play, waiting for a cue, well – there isn’t a theatre in the country that could hold a candle to that!”
But Allan wants to be clear, Bard on the Beach with its unique and spectacular setting isn’t the only reason audiences continue to flock to it each year.
“Sure they come for the view and the setting,” he said, “but they also come for the high level of skill on the stage and for the amazing costumes, sets and props. Bard on the Beach has become a Vancouver rite of summer where you come to hear and enjoy Shakespeare. And, of course for the ice cream and caramel corn too.”
Now in its 21st year, Bard on the Beach is once again poised to entertain thousands during its almost four month run with productions of Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra, Falstaff and Henry V. Just don’t expect Allan to share any of his baked goods. You’ll have to settle for the ice cream and caramel corn instead.
Bard on the Beach
10 June – 25 September
The anchor production in the Mainstage tent will be the witty romance Much Ado About Nothing and Antony and Cleopatra. In the intimate Studio Stage, Bard will continue with the second year of “The Kings” History Cycle. In a new adaptation by Errol Durbach, Henry IV, Parts I & II will be blended as Falstaff and will play in repertory with the third history play, the powerful Henry V. Visit http://www.bardonthebeach.org for tickets and information.