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L.A. Beat

Shakespeare In the Park prepares for Macbeth and presents Shakespeare Meets Dickens

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The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society is excited to welcome back familiar faces as they bring back their popular fundraiser Shakespeare Meets Dickens, Dec. 14 at Casa. Jeff Graham and Bryson Brown performing in last year’s  Shakespeare Meets Dickens, which returns to Casa, Dec. 14. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s the third annual Shakespeare Meets Dickens. It’s an important fundraiser for the Lethbridge Shakespeare Society,” said artistic director Kate Connolly, who won’t be part of this year’s event due to undergoing knee surgery. But there will be plenty of familiar faces taking part including talented singers and musicians Megan Wittig, Ken Rogers, Stephanie Savage and Chris Peterson.

There will also be a lot of familiar faces on stage taking part in the reader’s theatre including most of the Shakespeare Performance Society board members including Jeff Graham and Shelly David plus The Tempest director DJ Gellatly.

The Shakespeare Performance Society has presented innovative productions of Shakespeare plays  in Galt Gardens for the last seven years including a space themed version of the Tempest this year, a western version of A Comedy of Errors and Romeo and Juliet set in contemporary Italy before that.

“This year we’re excited to present Macbeth directed by an and coming young director who studied with Peter Hinton in Ontario, who has directed the Stratford Festival and the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto,” said  Connolly, noting Monique Danielle returns home from Toronto this year to direct a more traditional version of MacBeth.
“I think the board wants to keep it in a fairly traditional time and there’s even been talk of kilts! My vision involves not only a lot of Scottish culture and Shakespearean time period but also the involvement of Greek and Roman mythology, particularly with the role of the witches! I want to play with the ideas of gender, feminism, femininity and toxic masculinity. We’re taking on a lot of big ideas that are so crucial to where our society’s at today but with a talented cast I think audiences are going to be in for something pretty amazing, ” Danielle wrote in a Facebook message.

Before moving to Toronto to continue her education, she was a familiar face on the Lethbridge theatre scene, performing in LMT’s production of Nunsense in 2016, winning several awards at the One Act Play Festival in 2015, performed in Playgoers of Lethbridge’s production of “Boeing Boeing,” as well as “Leading Ladies ” in 2015 and directing Playgoers of Lethbridge’s dinner theatre “Don’t Dress For Dinner” in 2015. She has also performed in Hatrix Theatre’s 2014 presentation of Avenue Q and “Lend Me A Tenor.”

 “I’m already editing the script and highlighting the most important parts. I hope to give that to her when she is home for Christmas,“ Connolly continued, adding auditions will be at the end of Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 with callbacks happening  Feb. 2.

 But first, she is excited about Shakespeare Meets Dickens.
“There will be food from Dickensian and Shakespearian times. There will also be a cash bar with beer and mulled wine,” she said.

Stephanie Savage returns  to perform in Shakespeare meets Dickens,Dec. 14 at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery
“The performances included the reader’s theatre version of  Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’ There will also be musical favourites and the always popular communal singing of Christmas Carols from Shakespearian and Dickensian times,” Connolly continued.

“New this year, there will be a 50 50 draw and a silent auction,” she said noting this fundraiser, plus a Heart of the City grant and a generous donation from Young Insurance ensure the company can cover the annual expenditures for the production including a stipend for the actors and crew.

“It allows us to put on high quality performances of Shakespeare in Galt Gardens,” Connolly summarized.
Auditions for Macbeth will take place Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 with callbacks on Feb. 2.
Tickets are available for the event, which runs 7-10 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 14, for  $20 at Casa.

 A version of this story appears in the Dec. 5, 2018 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper
— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
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