On Friday we are off to see Twelfth Night by the Shakespeare in the Ruins theatre company. Heading out to the Trappist monastery in St. Norbet for a summer evening of Shakespearean drama has been a tradition with us for decades.
I wish I had photos of all the performances we’ve attended. The Shakespeare in the Ruins theatre company began three decades ago and I don’t think we’ve missed many of their shows.
My all-time favourite would probably be the 2001 performance of The Tempest. I have a soft spot in my heart for the play because I got to know my husband when we worked on a group project about The Tempest in a college English class.
In 2012 we took our Australian friends John and Sandy and our American friend Tad to see Henry V. For ten years prior to 2012, Shakespeare in the Ruins’ plays had been performed at other venues while the Trappist Monastery in St. Norbert which was its traditional home, was under repair.
The theatre company chose to stage Henry V for its return to its original stomping grounds. In my review of the play, I offered six reasons why I thought it had been just about perfect!
We really enjoyed the 2017 performance of Romeo and Juliet at the St. Norbert site. That year I went exploring around the grounds and found the beautiful cultural centre and garden that are also part of the property and wrote about them.
Seeing the play reminded me of watching another Shakespeare in the Ruins version of Romeo and Juliet in 2003 in a parking garage in the Exchange District.
Debbie Patterson who starred in Richard III in 2016 did a stunning job of making the British monarch a maniacal, manipulative and ultimately pitiful figure in the Shakespeare in the Ruins production.
However, when I researched the real King Richard’s life after watching the play it was just a little disconcerting to discover that he probably wasn’t anything like the man Shakespeare described and Ms Patterson brought to life so vividly.
Antony and Cleopatra in 2015 was interesting but not my favourite Shakespeare in the Ruins performance.
Setting the play in pre-confederation Canada just didn’t work for me as I explained in my review. And the mosquitoes were horrific the night of the performance we saw!
We took friends from India who we got to know when we lived in Hong Kong to the performance of Comedy of Errors in 2014. They loved it and so did we.
The performance was done in such an entertaining fashion, the humour bawdy and the acting a bit ‘over the top’ in a good way.
Last year’s play Much Ado About Nothing was a delight from start to finish! The acting was first-rate, and the music composed especially for this rendition of the play was charming.
I liked the way some of the male parts in the original script had been given to women and the way the cast of characters was racially diverse.
I am very appreciative of the Shakespeare in the Ruins company which has been bringing such unique theatre to our city since 1994.