Summer Theatre

Company of Adventurers receives Awesome Ottawa award

The Company of Adventurers, a young people’s Shakespeare troupe in Old Ottawa South, received a cheque in May from Awesome Ottawa. PHOTO: COURTESY OF AWESOME OTTAWA

An Awesome Ottawa award was given to Cynthia Sugars to support The Company of Adventurers, a young people’s Shakespeare theatre company in Old Ottawa South that performs in a neighbourhood back yard. Every month, 10 or so members of Awesome Ottawa contribute $100 each and decide on the recipient of the pooled funds, which is usually a local project. The Company of Adventurers was chosen in May to receive the $1,000 cheque!

“For years my dream was to run a summer theatre program for local kids to bring what I do in the classroom to the public,” says Sugars, a teacher of English and theatre at the University of Ottawa. “It is my belief that we underestimate what kids are capable of. Shakespeare is not hard or scary. Our actors revel in the poetry, humour and social insights of Shakespeare. As each production develops, we see their creativity, self-expression, community spirit and confidence build. They are an inspiration!

“Our goal is to nourish the creative talents of local children and to offer them access to a genuinely enriching cultural and theatrical experience. No prior acting experience is necessary and we accept children from ages 10 to 19. We try to bring out the inner confidence and creativity of children and youth by working very cohesively as a team. We also foster the talents of the actors by using music, dance, gymnastics and other abilities that the actors bring to the group. We are also trying to instill in young people a sense of community outreach and responsibility,” says Sugars. “We present our shows as fundraisers for a local charity. We pass a hat after each show and donate all of the money raised to the designated charity for that year, a charity chosen by the children.”

The company’s show for 2019 is Shakespeare’s As You Like It. “We choose a different play each year,” explains Sugars, “and rehearse all summer two nights a week, presenting our shows on weekends in September.” To learn more, and to attend a show this fall, visit companyofadventurers.ca.


A Company of Fools presents

Romeo and Juliet

The summer tradition returns! A Company of Fools is back with their Torchlight Shakespeare in the Park series, visiting 36 parks all across eastern Ontario during the months of July and August.

A stellar local cast of Fools both new and old play 14 different roles to retell Shakespeare’s most known story in your own backyard. It’s the perfect setting for an evening summer picnic and is friendly for the entire family (even your dog).

About the Show

For the first time in 11 years a Company of Fools tackles Shakespeare’s iconic story Romeo and Juliet.

You know the story. The city of Verona is plagued by violence as an ancient rivalry between the Capulets and Montagues causes fighting in the street. The son of Montague, Romeo, crashes the Capulet’s ball and falls for Capulet’s daughter Juliet. The two marry in secret and find themselves at the centre of a city-wide feud.

A carnival setting creates the backdrop for the Fools’ fantastical take on the streets of Verona. Swords are paired with water pistols and live music is played by a carnie barker with a megaphone. Audiences will be transported to an adolescent paradise of dangerous pleasure. Relive your teenage angst with the Fools this summer as they present the world’s favourite romance.

Two of Ottawa’s favourite young actors play the bard’s star-crossed lovers: Norah Paton, whose one-woman show Burnt found national success, stars as Juliet while Ottawa improv legend and Fools veteran Leslie Cserapy plays Romeo.

We’re also welcoming back past Fools who you might recognize from GCTC productions this year: Kate Smith (Virgin Trials) and Geoff McBride (Dear Mr. Wells) return in the roles of Lady Capulet and Capulet.

And a Fools fan favourite, Kate McArthur (Sebastian/Maria, Twelfth Night, 2018) also returns to play the roles of both Mercutio and the Nurse. Alongside her is a new Fool, Andrea Massoud, playing Benvolio.

Our tour runs July 2nd to August 17th. We perform Monday to Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Fools are visiting 36 different parks all across Ottawa and eastern Ontario, and Wakefield Quebec.

From Westboro to Navan and everything in between, Ottawa audiences will be hard pressed to find a neighbourhood not included in the Fools’ summer tour. Even those from out of town communities such as McDonalds Corners and Oxford Mills will get a chance to fool around with the Fools this summer.

As per usual, you can find a Company of Fools in Strathcona Park every Monday night. The full tour schedule is to be announced on June 15th. Check out Fools.ca for details.

All of our shows are pay-what-you-can, with a suggested donation of $20/person. Our actors pass hats once the performance has concluded.


Premiere of Spanish masterpiece highlights Odyssey Theatre’s 34th season

Odyssey Theatre (picture from a 2015 production) will present The Bonds of Interest in Strathcona Park Jul 25–Aug 25. Photo: Odyssey Theatre

By Zainab Lemkhanat

Odyssey Theatre welcomes theatre goers from across Ottawa each year to their outdoor stage in beautiful Strathcona Park, just a 15-minute bike ride or drive from the Glebe. Odyssey’s Theatre Under the Stars series has received over 25 awards and nominations, and was most recently included in the Ottawa Citizen’s Top 10 live performances of 2018.

Odyssey returns to the park this summer with a new translation and adaptation of The Bonds of Interest by Nobel Prize laureate Jacinto Benavente. The Bonds of Interest is a wickedly clever satire about self-interest, greed and corruption in a modern consumer-driven world. Two penniless con artists arrive in a town of pretenders and concoct a devious scheme to get rich quick. The brains of the operation, Crispín, poses as a servant to the dashing Leandro, who in his turn poses as a wealthy international man of mystery. Together, they live high off of all those hoping to get rich by associating with them, while scheming to get Leandro married to the richest young woman in town. All is put at risk when Leandro falls in love with the girl and wants out of the con. At the same time, the townspeople become wise to the machinations of the two crooks. But Crispín, the master manipulator, has everyone so tied up in their vested bonds of interest that no one can afford to reveal the fraudsters’ plot.

The Bonds of Interest is a mad Commedia dell’Arte farce and a comedy of intrigue that probes human nature with a cynical eye, while drawing all walks of life together in the joy of laughter. Benavente uses the characters of Commedia to unfold the mix of selfishness, altruism, brutality and humanity in all of us.

While it is considered Benavente’s most celebrated work, The Bonds of Interest is rarely produced in North America. Distinguished scholar Catherine Boyle of King’s College London collaborated with Odyssey’s artistic director Laurie Steven to create a dynamic new translation that will introduce Benavente’s modern Commedia dell’Arte masterpiece to the contemporary English-speaking world. This exciting collaboration was developed through Odyssey’s New Play Creation Program with workshops in both Ottawa and the UK.

Odyssey’s award-winning artistic director Laurie Steven returns to direct a talented cast of Odyssey veterans and newcomers from Ottawa, Toronto and the UK. Leading the cast as Crispín, the master manipulator, is Canadian-British actor and Odyssey veteran Ross Mullan, best known as the White Walker on Game of Thrones. Also joining the cast is Toronto theatre and film actor Soo Garay, most recently seen on HBO’s The Handmaid’s Tale and the Netflix Series The Umbrella Academy. Five talented Ottawa actors will be taking the stage this summer, including Stavros Sakiadis, Mitchel Rose, Bruce Spinney, Maryse Fernandes and William Beddoe.

Steven is also working with an outstanding team of designers, notably local heritage architect Barry Padolsky (set) who played a key role in the $150 million, eight-year rehabilitation of the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Ottawa Art Gallery-Arts Court redevelopment, award-winning local designer Vanessa Imeson (costumes), Ottawa composer and founder of Lachance music Venessa Lachance (music/sound) and eminent mask designer Clelia Scala. The team of designers is creating a world of decadent glamour and decaying wealth inspired by graphic novels and hip-hop jazz funk music, that is inhabited by comic masked crooks and charlatans.

With a vibrant new translation of a Spanish gem, a talented cast and company and the return of Odyssey’s trademark style, this stunning production promises to be the hit of the summer. Enjoy a magical night of Theatre Under the Stars along the banks of the Rideau River with friends and family.

The Bonds of Interest runs from July 25 to August 25, 2019, Tuesdays through Sundays at 8 p.m., with matinees on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. Tickets available as of June 10. More information about Odyssey Theatre is available at odysseytheatre.ca.

 

Zainab Lemkhanat is a newcomer in Canada with a love of theatre and a passion for languages. She is thrilled to be part of the Odyssey Theatre community and appreciates how theatre can be a fantastic bridge between communities.

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