Bard in the Barracks to stage A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Measure for Measure this summer.
Bard in the Barracks, Fredericton’s outdoor Shakespeare company, announced its 2019 season this week, which will feature new productions of two contrasting comedies: Shakespeare’s most magical and dreamy romantic comedy, and a gritty, urban play that is very much of the present time.
Ten years after Bard in the Barracks first staged a show at Odell Park in 2009, the company will return to the play it performed that year, the perennially popular A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in a promenade-style production. As four young Athenians take to the woods with romantic designs on (or against) each other, the resident fairies start to mess with their desires and spark a deliriously spirited comedy of confused passions and shifting allegiances. When a group of “rude mechanicals” decide to rehearse a play in the same forest, the opportunities for transformation – and just plain embarrassment – proliferate.
As director Len Falkenstein notes, “There is no play more suited to a night in the woods than this hilarious romp that’s about, well, a night in the woods.”
This summer’s second play will be Measure for Measure, one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays,” to be performed in Barracks Square. Set in a Vienna whose absentee Duke has been lax at enforcing the laws regulating sex, this tragicomedy puts a strict deputy on a collision course with his own desires when a young nun pleads with him for her brother’s life. As he unexpectedly falls for her and makes a scandalous proposition, she calls him out and precipitates a crisis that the Duke in disguise sets out to resolve.
In the words of director John Ball, “If Shakespeare has a #MeToo play, this is it: sexual coercion, abuse of power, and the limits of justice and mercy are just some of the 21st-century themes explored by this 415-year-old play.”
Together, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Measure for Measure will run from June 21 to July 7. Details of auditions, performance schedule, and ticket availability will be announced in the weeks to come on the company’s website: bardinthebarracks.com.