Hats off to Shawnigan Players for pulling off Macbeth amid downtown traffic. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Hats off to Shawnigan Players for pulling off Macbeth amid downtown traffic. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Column: Shakespeare in the park never gets old

I have often talked with actors and directors about the amazing qualities of a Shakespeare play.

I have often talked with actors and directors about the amazing qualities of a Shakespeare play.

The genius of The Bard is that his works just never get old. I’m sure there has never been a time, since they were written back in Elizabethan England, that someone somewhere was not putting on a production of at least something from Shakespeare.

I saw it again Saturday night when I attended the Shawnigan Players sneak preview of their upcoming presentation of Macbeth.

It takes guts — and the concentration of a diamond cutter — to speak Shakespearian language on the lawn of Charles Hoey Park, right on busy Canada Avenue in Duncan at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night in front of an audience aged from four to 94.

There was a point during the show Saturday when you could have heard a pin drop. Nobody was moving, nobody was whispering: that’s the magic of one of these evergreen plays. The action reaches and entertains everybody, each on his or her own level.

The actors love what they do and it shows.

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Director Alex Gallacher had to step into several roles in Saturday night’s presentation of The Scottish Play. (It’s supposed to be bad luck to call Macbeth by its name so I’m just typing it here, not saying it aloud.)

Anyway, Gallacher, dressed in a suit more in tune with James Bond than William Shakespeare, explained he had to fill the shoes of several no-shows. So we got a full order of gossip with our entertainment.

One, Bob Norris, was ill at home, and couldn’t play Duncan. (Hope to see you treading the boards soon, Bob!)

His son, who was staying with him, wasn’t available to play the doctor. And a third, Jacob Dennison, was actually away getting married, and couldn’t play Macduff.

So, the director stepped in here and there, script in hand, and played all three parts, while quarterbacking the whole production from the wings when he wasn’t needed onstage.

•••

I also had a chance to talk to one of the performers from Duncan Has Talent recently and she shared with me that the mentorship offered by the judges during the first two days of the competitions is wonderful, and she really valued it.

So, I thought it was worth a moment to give a virtual hand to the people who give up practically every Friday in July to come out and give the benefit of their expertise and enthusiasm, plus oodles of support, to help the brave performers who step up and enter.

So far, we’ve seen Laura Cardriver partnered with Cathy Schmidt, Robyn Fortunat, and Laurie Schmidt in these challenging roles, and with Duncan Has Talent confirmed for next year, we hope they will be back.

lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com