Fools in the Park

For dates and more info on A Company of Fools click the poster, it will take you to their website.

Shakespeare typically brings me back to Grade 10 English where I had to recite a monologue from Romeo and Juliet, a nightmare for any teenage girl.

However, my experience at a Company of Fools presentation of Henry V; was like a dream I could never dream brought to life.

I have gone to a number of plays before, high school and professional, but never an outdoor presentation, so I did not know what to expect.

We got to Walter Baker Park in Kanata a little before the 7 p.m. show time and I was worried we would not be able to find a place to sit with our blanket and packed goodies. After some friendly discussion we found a fairly good spot in the blanket section, surrounded by approximately 100 of our Shakespeare loving friends.

I will be honest; I am not familiar with this particular Shakespeare play at all and really had to focus on the story line. I was lucky because the cast was so strong and animated in their storytelling abilities that I was able to follow enough of the story to laugh and clap at the right times.

Photo Credit:Andrew Alexander A Company of Fools, The cast is all smiles inside their magical trunk

The actors and actress on the mini stage were big and bold reaching their crowd with echoing voices, from stunning and fun sword fights to whispering interludes of sorrow.

You never really knew what or who was going to jump out of their magical trunk next. I kept trying to predict what was next and I was always wrong, just part of the ongoing surprises of the show!

They were all able to take their cues from the audience and interacted with the crowd on a number of occasions. It was a small cast and sometimes I lost track of who was who but the quick costume changes were witty and kept me in check.

Although I don’t think sunglasses were in fashion at the time of the play, it added a royal flare to certain characters.

Photo Credit:Andrew Alexander A Company of Fools, Sunglasses and arm wrestling not how you would think a battle would be won, but with this cast they did it, with lots of laughs too!

As I mentioned it was a small cast and they even had to enlist the entire audience for a special climatic part in the play. I will not give it away as it was fun for all involved and probably my favourite part!

Some have asked if it is kid friendly, I would say yes but only if your children can sit for approximately an hour and a half on a blanket or lawn chair. Be prepared to bring your own snacks, water, blanket, chair, umbrella and maybe bug spray. It is a live show and you never know what you will run into.

A Company of Fools, according to its website is the longest running independent professional Shakespeare Company, its mandate is to produce innovative, entertaining and accessible shows based on the works of William Shakespeare. By attending only one of their shows I can tell why they have been educating and entertaining Ottawa residents since 1990.

A Company of Fools very small stage in Walter Baker park.

As a budding photographer, it was hard for me to put everything down and abide by their request of no pictures during the show. I snapped a quick shot of the stage before this announcement was made and it really gives you an idea of the small space these professional actors have to work with.

The large blocks and trunk that make up the stage really allow the cast to utilize different blocking techniques and easily convert the stage into a number of different sets.

However, the Fools give permission to use photos from their website as long as they are credited to Andrew Alexander, all photos except the stage are credited to Mr. Alexander, for more photos visit: http://fools.ca/media/images-and-video/

They perform almost every night in the summer in a local park and for a ‘pass the hat admission’ you are getting top-notch family entertainment that everyone is sure to enjoy. To check when they are playing next in your neighbourhood please visit: www.fools.ca

Although the Fools perform in Almonte and Carp, I wish they would try it in Arnprior. I think the stage at Robert Simpson Park in Arnprior, would be an interesting challenge for them. I am sure they would attract a number of Ottawa Valley loving Shakespeare folk as well!

This was my first time at a production by the Fools and I am going to try to go again and I encourage you to have some foolish fun too!

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