July 19th, 2024

Shakespeare in the Park returns this summer with ‘Twelfth Night’

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on June 29, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Emily Laidlaw as Viola and Rachel Robinson as Olivia run through a scene on Thursday at Galt Gardens for their upcoming Shakespeare in the Park play "Twelfth Night"

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Shakespeare Society is bringing back Shakespeare in the park for their 13th season with Twelfth Night starting on July 4 at 7 p.m. in Galt Gardens.

Kate Connelly, producer of Shakespeare in the Park, told the Herald Thursday they are excited to bring the Twelfth Night as it shows the humorous side of Shakespeare.

“I think Shakespeare is eternal, he is so important culturally across the world, he is popular among many countries, there is always someone somewhere staging one of his works,” said Connelly.

She said Shakespeare understood humanity and even though his plays were written hundreds of years ago what he has to say it still very relevant today.

“He understood people’s connections with each other, he understood about our little weaknesses, our jealousies, our dislikes, but also our deep love and loyalty and I think he brings all of this things out in every single one of his plays,” said Connelly.

Rachel Robinson, who plays Olivia, echoes Connelly’s sentiments about Shakespeare by saying that the play showcases a different side of him, as usually people think about tragedy when thinking about his plays but this one in particular shows a refreshing funny side, while also showcasing love and determination.

“It’s really fun to see his lighter side here. The play involves twins who get separated and one twin disguises herself as a man and my character ends up falling in love with this twin. Olivia is amazingly strong and super determined to have her way,” said Robinson.

She said for her personally taking part of a Shakespeare play is a huge honour, as he has been an important part of her post-secondary education.

“I got to study Shakespeare in a literature context in university, he was my specialty. Shakespeare’s my dude. So, to know that this blueprints that he gave for an actor to fill is still being realized and in fleshed, that’s just a huge privilege to be part of this legacy,” said Robinson.

While talking about Galt Gardens as one of their performance locations, Robinson said she is happy to perform there as it provides those around an opportunity to see a play they otherwise would not have the opportunity to see.

“There is a lot of people suffering in downtown and it can feel really frivolous to be doing a play in the middle of so much human suffering, but hopefully it can be an opportunity for people to see something they might not get a chance to otherwise,” said Robinson.

Emily Laidlaw, who plays Viola, feels a similar way about performing in Galt Gardens.

“It’s very tough to see so many residents of the park struggling everyday so I think giving them a show and giving them our best performances, will bring laughter and joy to them and I really appreciate when they come and watch or talk to us before the show,” said Laidlaw.

She recalled with a smile on her face that on a previous year while performing at Galt Gardens an Indigenous woman prayed with them before the performance and was their biggest fan that night.

In terms of her character, Laidlaw explained that after her twin brother dies in a shipwreck Viola decides to disguise herself as a man in order to get a job and take care of herself.

“She has to make her own way in the world now, so she dresses as a man to disguise herself, so she gets a job with this guy named Duke and she falls in love with him. There’s a bunch of love triangle stuff that happens,” said Laidlaw.

 She added that Viola tries to do what is best for herself, but also what is best for her new friends which makes her very wholesome.

 Performances will take place in Galt Gardens on Thursdays at 7 p.m., at Casa’s Rotary Square on Fridays at 7 p.m., at Legacy Park on Aug. 1 at 7 p.m and at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. with the last performance taking place on Aug. 9 at Casa at 7 p.m.

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