Kelsey Does Calgary: Shakespeare in the Park
Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee; and when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again.
By Kelsey Hipkin
In its 23rd season, Mount Royal University’s Shakespeare in the Park runs from now until Aug. 21.
I’ve long been a fan of Shakespeare but have never seen any of his works live. When a friend suggested we check out Shakespeare in the Park I was more than game, especially when I heard it was “Othello” we’d be seeing. I’d only read bits of the controversial play and had seen the movie “O'”with Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett and Julia Stiles so was looking forward to a live, outdoor show.
Crossing the bridge from Eau Claire to the island we heard the play before we saw it. We were at first a little confused at the fact that players were wearing army uniforms and business suits instead of feathered caps and fluffy pants. (My friend was really disappointed by the lack of fluffy pants.)
After a little webbernet research I read in a Herald article that the park version of “Othello” has the title character as an Arab Commander in the Canadian Armed Forces. The modern twist took a little getting used to but I can see how it would appeal to audience members who were just cutting their teeth with Shakespeare.
The two lead characters of Haysam Kadri (who also directed) as Othello and Arielle Rombough as Desdemona convey very real feelings as a couple passionately in love and driven apart by Othello’s scheming best friend Iago.
I’m not going to go too much more into the details of what makes “Othello”, “Othello” but it is one of Shakespeare’s best. Watching it in a park with people passing by on bikes and rollerblades, with their dogs and on their cell phones added to the charm of Shakespeare in the Park. Even a little rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the group of about 75 who gathered to take in a live show just as Shakespeare’s works would have appeared back in the day at the Globe.
Whether you’re a tried and true Will fan, looking for a romantic date night with your signifigant other or just want to spend some time outside with some great acting, check out Shakespeare in the Park…just don’t forget your blanket and snacks.