Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Fun—An Evening at the Theatre

Last night my husband and I attended a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. I’m a big fan of Shakespeare’s work and Twelfth Night happens to be my favorite. I love romantic comedy, and this is rom com at its best, filled with deceit and misunderstandings and, eventually, love.

I do not reviews. I only blog about things I like and I liked this production a lot. Starting with the outdoor theatre, which is a perfect summer venue. The audience settled into the seating area, a gently sloping bit of ground, with lawn chairs and blankets and picnic lunches.

Sitting next to us was a young couple on their first date. On our other side was a young couple eating sushi. They were pregnant, so not a first date.

The main stage was shaded by big old oak trees, and the sparse set allowed lots of room for the sometimes boisterous and slapstick antics of the cast. The white tent beyond the tree was one of the backstage areas.

A nearby outcrop of rock did double duty as the ship that wrecked at the beginning of Act I, Scene II.

The director, Barbara Poggemiller, took some minor liberties with the cast, replacing Valentine and Curio with a pair of Valentinas who attended the Duke and very effectively doubled as sailors, police officers and members of the chorus line.

The cast was varied in both experience and ability. Several of the most prominent and comedic roles were played by well-seasoned pros, and the fledgling actors working with them will surely benefit from their experience.

I was especially taken with the performances of Feste (Wes Borg), a Sir Toby Belch (Chris Harris), and Malvolio (Eric Grace). I didn’t take many photos during the performance, but couldn’t resist snapping a picture of a yellow-stockinged cross-gartered Malvolio.

Here he is, beseeching a stunned Olivia while a most devious Maria looks on. Easily my favorite scene.

As the evening progressed, stage lights replaced sunlight, and then a couple of thunder clouds rolled over the Olympic Mountains and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The audience pulled on their jackets or wrapped themselves in blankets while nature added a few special effects of her own.

By curtain call, the sky was dark and the temperature had dropped considerably. I’m sure the cast was ready to take their leave, especially Olivia in her strapless wedding dress, but not before receiving the audience’s enthusiastic applause.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest or plan to visit this summer, treat yourself to the Victoria Shakespeare Society’s Shakespeare in the Summer Festival. They’re also presenting Julius Caesar, and we wouldn’t miss it!

Until next time,



Oh my goodness! Michael Glover, the festival's artistic director, sent me the follow photos and captions. All photos courtesy of Arial Rubin Photography.

[from the left to the right] Wes Borg, as Feste, mocks Eric Grace's Malvolio as he attempts to council the grieving Christina Penhale, as Olivia.


Chris Harris [top], as Sir Toby Belch, posses above a horrified John Green [left, bottom], as Sir Andrew Aguecheek who is being terrified by the lovely Alyson Culbert's [Right, bottom], Maria.


Christina Penhale, as Olivia, has a spark of love in her eye for the dashing young man who, unfortunately for Olivia, is not a man. Marina Lagrace's Viola seems blissfully unaware of this development.


Orsino, Duke of Illyria as played by Stefan Jonsson [centre] seems weary as only the man who has everything can, by the pool and waited on by the lovely Alina Maris [left] and Christine Mooney [right].


Marin Thomas said...


how fun to see a play outside! What a unique setting--even better that you were able to make it a date night with hubby :-)

Samantha's Cowboy (Aug 09)

Lee McKenzie said...

It was fun, Marin. Every time we do something like this, we say we need to do things like this more often. Maybe this time we'll get it to stick!

Anita Birt said...

Lee, your blog was delicious from start to finish. Loved all the pictures. Live theatre is wonderful, indoors or out. I wish there was more in Victoria.

Live theatre is what I miss living here. Ontario has so much going on at Stratford, Niagara-on-the-Lake and various venues in and around Toronto. However, the climate is better here than there!

Lee McKenzie said...

I'm glad you enjoyed reading this, Anita. And I'm especially grateful to the artist director for contributing such wonderful photographs.

I love the theatre, too, and don't attend as often as I could, or should.

I especially loved the informality of this production. It was entirely without pretense, the actors clearly had a great deal of fun, and then so did the audience.

VirginiaR said...

Hi Lee - attending Shakespeare at Camosun has become a favourite tradition for me and Julia. I wasn't sure which show to attend this year, but think that romantic comedy might suit the 14 yr olds preferences better than Julius Caesar! We'll be sure to take our warm clothes as I think we've missed the heat of summer; it looks a bit like fall now!

Lee McKenzie said...

Hi, Virginia! Wonderful to hear from you! I'm sure you and Julia will love this production. Have fun!