by Katie Turner
While the works of William Shakespeare are known around the world, this summer, Mount Royal University’s Shakespeare in the Park will feature the world premiere of the Bard’s newly discovered play.
Scholars are newly crediting the play Double Falsehood to Shakespeare and fellow playwright John Fletcher, rather than the Shakespearean editor Lewis Theobald. After following the story in the news, Martin Fishman, the artistic director of Shakespeare in the Park, searched online and found a copy of the play and decided to use it for his summer production.
“The Royal Shakespeare Company in London, the big one, is doing it in the fall, so we’re preempting everyone and doing it here first,” Fishman said. “So, Calgarians will be the first people in almost 300 years to see this play.”
“[The play is] a world premiere in our time, but I’m sure this was performed back in the day, but I think we’re one of the few companies that are doing it right from the get-go,” said Haysam Kadri, the play’s director.
In addition to working with Shakespeare in the Park, Kadri spent nearly seven years as an actor with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, and is no stranger to the Bard’s work. “Everybody has done Shakespeare, all the plays have been done, so this one is really exciting and, you know, of course I’ve got the nerves but it will really be exciting to jump into that,” he said. Not only will Kadri be directing Double Falsehood, he will also be acting in the two main stage shows at this year’s Shakespeare in the Park.
An abridged version of Double Falsehood will be performed for lunchtime audiences, while Much Ado About Nothing and Othello will fill the evening slots.
“It’s really, really exciting to tell this story for the first time. I have no reference to it so it will be a learning process for me, but I’ll have some great students working with us,” said Kadri.
Twenty-three years ago, Shakespeare in the Park began as a theatre program at Mount Royal. Now, the company is overseen by the Mount Royal Conservatory and incorporates both professional and student-actors.
It takes place at Prince’s Island Park throughout the summer, and rather than charging for tickets, the company asks the audience for donations, a feature,
Fishman said, that makes for a diverse audience. “You will have — and it happens all the time — a street person and a business person sitting side-by-side on the hill watching Shakespeare, which would never happen anywhere else,” he said.
Double Falsehood will run Aug. 11-21 from Wednesday through Saturday at noon, while the main stage productions begin with Othello on July 2 at 7 p.m.
For more information and a full schedule visit www.myshakespeare.ca.