A Company of Fools: Shakespeare for everyone

by Coreen Last summer we spent an evening in the park with four enchanted lovers, a fairy or three, a king, queen and a donkey. DSC02106-1

A Company of Fools dropped by our neighbourhood park for a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream, and as we've come to expect it was entertaining for kids and adults alike. They certainly have a knack for 'de-stuffing' Shakespeare and appealing to everyone. The physical comedy (popping balloons anyone?) appealed to the younger children and the little things like the MC describing one of the actors as a long-form census taker (unemployed) got the adults chuckling. But back to the popping balloons: Midsummer night and all that

These are all-ages shows. Our 2.5 year old was captivated by the whole thing, and we brought her the year before, and even when I was pregnant *g*. Last year she watched the audience, she watched the picnickers (note to self: Bring a snack this time. She was watching two boys behind us so intently they finally offered her one of their crackers - little mooch!), and she even watched the show. She stood on my lap and clapped every time they popped a balloon. I was amazed that she didn't lose it during the 1.5 hour show. We sat back far enough that she had room to play in front of us, and that kept her happy. She was finally moved to the point of using one of her purses as a prop for her own re-enactment:

The littlest fool

This year between July 4th and August 20th they are putting on 'Shakespeare's funniest tragedy' Antony and Cleopatra and I cannot wait to attend a show! Chances are there's an Ottawa performance near you, their schedule is in that link above. Since we missed the show in our new neighbourhood, I'm torn between the one they're holding in our old neighbourhood, and the one in Hintonburg...maybe we'll hit both!

Here are some 'pro tips' for first timers (and the perennially disorganized (aka me)):

-This ain't your high-school Shakespeare (in case you didn't get that from the pics), they are comedic interpretations (the 'Fool's twist') and all ages are welcome. -The shows start at 7, so for many of you, be prepared to ditch bedtime, but it's totally worth it. Shows are about 1.5 hours long, but it's an open air park, so leave if you need to. -Bring lawnchairs or blankets to sit on. Also, bugspray if there's no helpful breeze. -As I mentioned bring snacks, I plan on looking like the got-it-together parent this year. -Shows are free but they do suggest a donation of $10 - well worth it. V loved bringing the money to the actors as they pass the hat at the end of the show. -Prepare to be entertained by the great acting and choreography, all forms of comedy, lightning fast costume changes and always be on the lookout for that moment where the actors amuse themselves and lose it a bit on stage - my favourite part.

Hope you can make it out to a show!

Coreen is a geriatric mother living with her husband (hubby) and 3.5 year old daughter (V). She works in IT Security but doesn’t yet know what she wants to be when she grows up. She's a contributor at Losing It In Ottawa and she blogs at One Day this Blog will have a Snazzy Name (and is open to naming suggestions because - really.)