Civil war, curses and a bid for the throne take the stage in Victoria Park for Hubcity Theatre’s annual Shakespeare in the Park. This year the company dives into one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters, Richard III. JB Vanier is directing the dark tale of a thirst for power.
“I’ve approached this version of Richard in a different fashion than it usually is taken. A lot of performances focus on the politics of the era, but I felt the character of Margaret (portrayed by Jill Quiring), an ancient and historically dead queen cursing the characters of the show was a more interesting take on the story as a whole, so we’ve put a lot of focus on that and her character,” Vanier said.
But that doesn’t take anything away from the title character of Richard (portrayed by Mel Mealey) who spends the play plotting, conniving and snaking his way to the throne through backroom deals.
In regard to the look of the show Vanier commented, “We tend to alternate between the contemporary and period design for our shows and we decided to mix those a bit for this production so while the overall look of the show hovers around the late 50’s/early 60’s Hollywood, there are some anachronisms in execution. The show is also a fair bit darker than some of our past work in terms of themes and how we present those on the stage. We play a bit with horror and thriller motifs of the era as well as design and atmosphere from the film noir era. It’s an exciting new approach for the work”
This year, the performance will take place near the Weldon and Park Street corner of the park with the amphitheater setting the stage for the show.
“One of the disadvantages of a lot of Shakespeare in the Park is flat ground forming most of the stage, by using the amphitheater we’re able to play with levels and give the actors plenty of room to interact with each other and create unique scenarios. We’re excited for the effects we can create for the audience with this staging,” said Vanier
The performances will run over two weekends Friday, July 19 to Sunday, July 21 and Thursday, July 25 to Saturday, July 27. As usual admission is by donation and the audience is asked to bring their chairs or blankets to sit on. It’s also helpful to bring insect repellant and refreshments.