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The Stratford Festival
2017 Season
Artistic Director: Antoni Cimolino

Stratford, Ontario Canada
April to October 2017


"Illuminating Shakespeare's plays by exploring the world in
which he lived and worked"


Twelfth Night Romeo and Juliet Timon of Athens Guys and Dolls HMS Pinafore Treasure Island The School for Scandal The Changeling Bakkhai Tartuffe The Madwoman of Chaillot The Komagata Maru Incident The Virgin Trial The Breathing Hole

Reviews: Twelfth Night

For theatre tickets and full season brochures, please phone the Stratford Festival box office at 1-800-567-1600. Brochures and tickets may also be ordered through the website at www.stratfordfestival.ca


Twelfth Night

 “What could be more attractive than the imaginary kingdom of Illyria, where the pursuit of happiness is the principal vacation, avocation and religion?” wrote Stewart H. Benedict in his introduction to the 1967 pop musical, Your Own Thing. The musical was inspired by Shakespeare’s 16th century comedy, Twelfth Night, But Your Own Thing was aimed right at the 1960’s free-wheeling love-inspired Hippie generation. Removed from the grim world of reality, no wonder Twelfth Night has serviced many a generation who either wants to savor the joys of youth - or get lost in its memories.

While today’s youth are living with uncertainty and violence in the world, their parents, most certainly their grandparents, can still remember the time when life was still pretty sweet, or as Jack Nicholson put it in As Good as It Gets, “Some of us have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. “

While there are no recollections of boats and noodle salad in director Martha Henry’s stalwart production of Twelfth Night which opened the Stratford Festival’s 17th season, the joie de vivre, life, love and the pursuit of happiness still remains the backbone of Shakespeare’s comedy. Ms. Henry’s solid production is as straight and solid as it gets with its 16th century ingredients intact. This is no updated frolic in the roaring twenties as Antoni Cimolino’s Twelfth Night back in 2001, nor the upcoming Toronto Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night which has as its setting a modern island hotel.

There’s also not a heck of a lot of fun either, except for the two carousing lushes, Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Tom Rooney) and Sir Toby Belch (Geraint Wyn Davies) who belly up to the bar in the town tavern and drink ale like mother’s milk.  They are the truly unruly frivolous and likely most honest characters in the bunch. Likely because they’re the best observers, and like most drunks, the most honest.  

Twelfth Night is a love story and though Ms. Henry doesn’t start the play with a violent storm at sea, as some productions have, it comes to pass slowly when a young woman named Viola (Sarah Afful) is found washed up on the shore, fearing that the storm at sea she has endured has claimed her brother Sebastian’s life. The dynamics of Twelfth Night – though not the play itself - begin here. Viola has to dress like a man in order to survive in a man’s world (the elegant Afful neatly feigning a male stance and voice) and so she becomes an attendant to a very manly man named Orsino (E.B. Smith), tall, dark and handsome, and in the habit of booming out his love for Olivia (Shannon Taylor), who is mature, good looking and rich - and who won’t give him the time of day.

Olivia instead is sexually attracted to Viola whom she thinks, understandably, is a young boy, one who spends much of the first half of the play running away from her. It’s this this sexual roundelay that drives the play, but it is the arch tricksters who provide the entertainment, and the moral of the story.

Olivia’s jester, Feste (a subdued Brent Carver who manages a soulful song at the start of the production), her affable uncle, the tippling Sir Toby Belch and the peculiar hanger-on Sir Andrew Aguecheek, are funny alright, but it’s her sensible, sane and sly maid Maria (Lucy Peacock) who keeps the household from tippling over. Peacock’s Maria is the more graceful of the mad quartet revelling in her clever plan to outsmart the disliked Malvolio who has managed to alienate just about everyone with his overbearing ways, while it’s Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Feste together who are broader based as a version of the Three Stooges.

The much maligned Malvolio whom we would like to hate but can’t thanks to Rod Beattie’s version of an aging malcontent who has grown to love himself deeply because no one else will. Somehow, it all seems familiar, newspaper worthy to our modern age. The test of a good Malvolio is despite his dislikeable personality, how keenly we feel the cruelty heaped upon him by a group of idlers with not much else to do.

This is not a well-mannered society by any means though it’s difficult not to enjoy them. Beautiful Olivia with her easy way, charming disarming manner, and feigned sensitivity, is the most glamorous of the offenders, though she’s had no direct hand in it. Nor does she spend any length of time commiserating about Malvolio’s treatment. Beattie himself as Malvolio, whose final words to his tormentors should double our satisfaction at his curses and cheer him on at castigating this idle bunch, doesn’t.  

But on the plus side, everyone gets what is coming to them in Twelfth Night which includes Viola’s discovery of her brother Sebastian, alive and well. Shakespeare was a true matchmaker when it came to the endings in his comedies as characters miraculously found their lost relatives and significant others, and weddings seemed to materialize out of thin air. It’s made all the more delightful by John Pennoyer’s design, Louise Guinand’s lighting and composer Reza Jacobs Sound Design. Twelfth Night, so named to indicate a traditional time of merry-making after the Christmas holidays, lives up to its name.  
Twelfth Night plays at the Festival Theatre until October 21, 2017.
Reviewed by Jeniva Berger

Photo: E.B. Smith as Orsino and Sarah Afful as Viola in Twelfth Night. Photography by Cylla von Tiedemann.



Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare. Plays at the Festival Theatre from May 13 (Opens May 29) to October 21. Directed by Martha Henry. Featuring Sarah Afful, Rod Beattie, Brent Carver, Lucy Peacock and Geraint Wyn Davies with Tom Rooney, E.B. Smith and Shannon Taylor. Shipwrecked twins, a lovesick duke and a self-important servant who becomes the ultimate fashion victim: love throws everyone for a loop in a comic riot of misdirected desire.
The Forum: Art in Illyria on June 15; Bothered and Betrothed on August 9; Hat Tricks on Aug. 26.
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum
Sarah Afful as Viola and Rod Beattie as Malvolio. Photo by Lynda Churilla

Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare. Plays at the Festival Theatre from May 3 (Opens June 1) to Otober 21. Directed by Scott Wentworth. Featuring Sara Farb, Antoine Vared and Seanna McKenna with Marion ADler, Wayne Best, Evan Buliung and Randy Hughson. Falling headlong in love, two teenagers defy the long-simmering hatred between their failies. But daring to love one's enemy comes with a terrible cost, as the needless sacrifice of youg lives brings this heartbreaking story to its tragic conclusion.
The Forum: Ideas at Stratford: The New City-State on July 15; Willy Shakes: Fanboy on Sept. 6; Bitter Conduct on Sept. 16.
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum
Photo: Antoine Yared as Romeo and Sara Farb as Juliet. Photo by Lynda Churilla

Guys and Dolls

A Musical Fable of Broadway, based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon. Music and lyrics by Frank Leosser; Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. Play at the Festival Theatre from April 15 (Opens May 30) to October 29. Directed and Choreographed by Donne Feore. Featuring Sean Arbuckle, Evan Buliung, Alexis Gordon and Blythe Wilson, with Lisa Horner, Lauir Murdoch and Steve Ross. Considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy, this dance spectacular travelsl from Times Square to Havana, Cuba - where all bets are off. Festuring "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."
The Forum: Song and Dance: Guys and Dolls, June 11, July 6, Aug 8 and Sept. 30
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum
Evan Buliung as Sky Masterson and Alexis Gordon as Sarah Brown. Photo by Lynda Churilla


By Moliere, Translated by Ranjit Bolt. Directed by Chris Abraham. Plays at lthe Festival Theatre from August 1 (Opens on Aug 17) to Oct. 13. Featuring Tom Rooney with Graham Abbey, Maev Beaty, Michael Blake, Rosemary Dunsmore and Anusree Roy. Vice becomes virute in Moliere's hilarious exploration of power and hypocrisy. Fallling under the spell of a religious con artits, Orgon risks his wife, his estate and his entire family in this darkly comic classic.
The Forum: True Crime, July 9 and 16; Ideas at Straford: Whose Lifes Mattter? on July 22; Table Talk: Tartfuffe on Aug. 1
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum

Tom Rooney as Tartuffe and Graham Abbey as Orgon. Photo by Lynda Churilla


HMS Pinafore

Book and Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert; Music by Arthur Sullivan. Directed by Lezlie Wade. Plays at the Avon Theatre from May 4 (Opens May 31) to October 21. Featuring Jennifer Rider-Shaw and Mark Uhre, with Lisa Horner, Laurie Murdoch and Steve Ross. With witty dialogue, endearing characters, memorable tunes and a hilariously happy ending, these are the silliest shenanigans ever seen aboard a ship!. Since its premiere in 1878, Gilbert and Sullivan's wildly popular operetta has delighted audiences with its nautical tale of love acrdoss class divides.
The Forum: Satire as Subversion, July 5; Mounting Musicals July 26; Table Talk: HMS Pinafore, Aug. 3.
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum
Jennifer Rider-Shaw as Josephine and Mark Uhre as Ralph Rackstraw. Photo by Lynda Churilla

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Nicholas Billon. World premiere of adaptation commissioned by the Stratford Festival. Directed by Mitchell Cushman. Plays at the Avon Theatre from April 22 (Opens June 3) to October 22. Featuring Thomas Mitchell Barnet and Juan Chorian.A map from a dead maln's chest, a sinister one-legged seafarer - and a parrot! They're all here in this new adpatation of the thrilling classic that has inspired every pirate story since.
The Forum: Crafting a National, June 14; Treasure Hunt Lunch, June 19, July 9 and July 23; A Pirate'sLife, July 29 and Aug. 9
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum
Photo: Juan Chioran as Long John Silver and Thomas Mitchell Barnet as Jim Hawkins. Photo by Lynda Churilla

The School for Scandal

By Richard Binslery Sheridan. Directed by Antoni Cimolino. Plays at the Avon Theatre Theatre from May 15 (Opens June 3) to October 21. Featuring Shannon Taylor, Geraint Wyn Davies and Joseph Ziegler, with Maev Beaty, Brent Carver, Sebastien Heins, Tyrone Savage and Brigit Wilson. In a society awash in gossip, rumours and backbiring, an uncle arrives home in disguise to test the wrothiness of his newphews - but truth has a way of tumbling out in this hilarious, fast paced comedy.
The Forum: Woman: Goods or Goddess? July 19; Behind the Profile, Sept. 20; WordPlay: The Honest Whore, Oct. 13.
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum
Photo: Geraint Wyn Davies as Sir Peter Teazle and Shannon Taylor as Lady Teazle. Photo by Lynda Churilla


Timon of Athens

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Stephen Ouimette. Plays at the Tom Patterson Theatre from May 8 (Opens June 2) to September 22. Featuring Joseph Ziegler with Tim Campbell, Ben Carlson and Michael Spencer-Davis. Timon's compulsive generosity makes him the most popular man in Athens - until his funds lrun out. Now, embittered lby ingratitude, what will he do when his city comes under attack?
The Forum: Shakespeare's Behive, June 23; The Ellington/Stratford Collection.
Photo: Joseph Ziegler as Timon. Photo by Lynda Churilla

The Changeling

By Thomas Middleton and William Rowley. Directed by Jackie Maxwell. Plays at the Tom Patterson Theatre from May 25 (Opens June 15) to Sept. 23). Featuring Ben Carlson and Mikaela Davies with Cyrus Lane. A woman hires a hit man to murder her faince, only to become trapped in a web of lust and deciet. All the suspense of a film noir thriller, in a drama lby contemporaries of Shakespeare.
The Forum: Lobby Talk: The Changeling, June 13 and Aug. 3; WordPlay: Albert Speer, June 18 - Middleton and More: August 30.

For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum
Photo: Mikaela Davies as Beatrice-Joanna and Ben Carlson as De Flores. Photo by Lynda Churilla


By Euripides, in a new version by Anne Carson. Directed by Jillian Keiley. Plays at the Tom Patterson Theatre from May 27 (Opens June 16) to September 23. Featuring Mac Fyle and Lucy Peacock with Graham Abbey and Gordon S. Miller. Awakening savage frenzy in the women of Thebes, the god of wine, ecstasy and fertility lays bare the duality of our natures: that each of us, no matter how civilized, has a wild beast within.
The Forum: How bares the Fairer Sex, June 28; Table Talek: Bakkhai, July 27; Ideas at Stratford: The GenderTrap.
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum.
Photo:Lucy Peacock as Agave and Mac Fyfe as Dionysos. Photo by Lynda Churilla

The Madwoman of Chaillot

By Jean Giradoux in a new translation by Eavid Edney. Directed by Donna Feore.World premiere of translation comissioned by The Stratford Festival. Plays at the Tom Patterson Theatre from August 3 (Opens Aug. 18) to Sept. 24. Starring Seana McKenna with Wayne Best, Ben Arlson, Yanna McIntosh and Scottt Wentworth. If oil were found beneath the streets of Paris, how would civilization fare against the demands of corporate greed? The answer lies within the flamboyantly determined woman whose quirky spirit informs this classic 20th century comedy, as scathing as it is timely.
The Forum:Art and Activism. Aug. 16; Talking Theatre, Selected Thursdays in July and August; Ideas at Stratford: The Poverty Cycle, Sept. 19.
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum.
Scott Wentworth as The Ragman and Seana McKenna as Aurélie, The Madwoman of Chaillot. Photo by Lynda Churilla


The Komagata Maru Incident

By Sharon Pollock. Directed by Keira Loughran. Plays at the Studio Theatre from August 5 (Opens Aug. 19 ) to September 24. Featuring Quelemia Sparrow with Kiran Ahluwalia. In 1914, a shipload of emigrants from the British Raj were denied entry to Vancouver, then Canada's most diverse city. The play exposes the cost ot only those newcomers but also to existing minority residents who struggled to find their place aid the systemic racism of the era.
The Forum: Migration, Nativism and Idenity, July 12; Implications of Inclusivity, June 24; Reconstructing History, Aug. 23.
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum.
Photo by Lynda Churilla

The Virgin Trial

By Kate Hennig. World Premiere Commissioned by The Stratford Festival. Directed by Alan Dilworth. Featuring Bahia Watson with Nigel Bennett, Laura Condlin, Sara Farb, Brad Hodder, Yanna McIntosh and Andrew Morin. Plays at The Studio Theatre from June 7 (Opens June 27) to September 23. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, the young princess Elizabeth navigates a labyrinth of political ad sexual intrigue in the Tudor court that threatens her freedom - and even her life. Don't miss this eagerly awaired compansion piece to the runaway hit The Last Wife.
The Forum: Assassinating Thomson, June ll and 18; Table Talk: The Virgin Trial; WorldPlay: The Rover.
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum.
Photo: Bahia Watson as Bess. Photo by Lynda Churilla

The Breathing Hole

By Colleen Murphy. World Premiere commissioned by the Stratford Festival. Directed by Benetta Arluk. Featuring Randy Hughson and Jani Lauzon. Plays from July 30 (Opens Aug. 18) to September 22 at the Studio Theatre. Intersecting with Canada's history from the moment of First Contact to a future ravaged by climate change, this saga follows the mythic adventures of a polar beat to a profoundly moving conclusion. Specially commissioned by the Festival to mark Canada 150.
The Forum: Caretakers of Story, June 21; On Melting Ground, July12; Ideas at Stratford: First Nation/Second Nation.
For complete listings, visit Stratford Festival.ca/Forum.
Randy Hughson as Sir John Franklin. Photo by Lynda Churilla

The Forum

The Forum is a festival within the Festival that will offer a fantastic array of Performances and Exclusive Showcases, Workshops, Guest Speakers, Panels and Debates, Dynamic Dialogues, Active Explorations, Music, Food for Thought, Screenings, Conversations, Exhibitions and Installations, Tours amid Symposia that take place throughout the summer from March to October, 2017

Education also plays a major role in the offstage Stratford Festival programming. Teachers: The Teaching Shakespeare Program, The Shakespeare School for Students, Festival Course, University Courses, Special Interest Packages, the Teachers' Conference and Learning Resources are edifying and entertaining.

Check out the entire Festival playbill including The Forum and Education events in the Festival brochures and website. https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/What's On/The Forum

For theatre tickets and full season brochures, please phone the Stratford Festival box office at 1-800-567-1600. Brochures and tickets may also be ordered through the website at www.stratfordfestival.ca.

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