The Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival’s upcoming season is well into rehearsal for what general manager, Candace Woodland says will be a fantastic and engaging offering for Greater Victorian fans of the Bard.
It’s the 28th season for the Festival, and this year the GVSF’s two productions are The Tempest, considered by some as one of Shakespeare’s greatest works, and the lesser known Pericles, a play that has a far less recognized pedigree, but one that has increasingly been acknowledged by critics as having merit due to its clever use of narrative and the use of the marvelous.
“We always try to find a balance between doing the greatest hits and working with some of the lesser known plays in the canon,” said Woodland.
The tale of Pericles, directed by Christopher Weddell, is that of a young prince who, having discovered the king of Antioch’s deadly secret, must flee for his life. He describes the king’s anger with the line “Few love to hear the sins they love to act,” a line as relevant to the powerful men in today’s world as it was to the king of Antioch.
The Tempest, GVSF’s second offering and the Shakespeare directorial debut for Chelsea Haberlin, can also be said to maintain its relevance in its examination of the human soul.
Take, for example, the line “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.” It’s an observation that has been quoted and paraphrased countless times and remains as relevant today as it was in 1611.
Woodland stressed that the attraction of Shakespeare’s plays is that they allow audiences to explore human nature and learn about people in love, in rivalry, and in desperation.
“I think there are lots of things that keep attracting audiences to Shakespeare. There is beautiful action, engaging characters and plots that keep us totally engaged. But all of that would be nothing without Shakespeare’s profound understanding of human nature,” said Woodland.
Both plays will be performed at Camosun College, Lansdowne Campus. The shows are done in repertory (so both shows are featured during the same time period) and begin on July 5.
Pericles will be performed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (at 7:30 p.m.) from July 5 through July 31.
The Tempest will be featured on Wednesdays and Fridays (7:30 p.m.) between July 6 and July 28 and will also show at Saxe Point Park, Aug. 2 to 4.
Tickets are $26, and $21 for students and seniors 65+. Festival passes are available. Children 12 and under are free.
New this year is the Shakespeareance Card, a six-show punch-card for Shakes-Fans. The punch-card is good for six admissions all at once or throughout the season.