“If we shadows have offended,
Know but this and all is mended.
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear,
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding, but a dream.”
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
And we’re off to Costa Rica! The first flight of our 17 hour odyssey left Vancouver at 5:20pm on Saturday and Emrys and I are now in the San Francisco airport awaiting our 12:27am flight to Houston. From Houston we’ll fly to San Jose, Costa Rica, arriving around noon on Sunday. So yes, I’m on my way to Costa Rica but still diligently checking in with you. And after a lacklustre and expensive dinner at Yankee Pier (oh the joys of airport dining) it’s time to hunker down and tell you about my very first Bard on the Beach experience.
As soon as I heard about my firm’s offer of complimentary tickets to A Midsummer Nights Dream I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up; particularly with a wine reception to start. If you’re not familiar, Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare Festivals that takes place in the magnificent waterfront setting of Vancouver’s Vanier Park.
Emrys and I park and head to the reception tent where we sip some wine and nibble on some canapés while speeches are made thanking the Vancouver Wine Festival for selecting Bard on the Beach Theatre Society as it’s new beneficiary, and thanking our firm for its support of the Vancouver Wine Festival. Artistic director Christopher Gaze ends his welcome with an empassioned and rather useful synopsis. In short, he explains that the play begins with Oberon, King of the Fairies, upset with Queen Titania. He commands his servant Puck to produce a magical nectar that will cause love at first sight. The mischievous sprite arranges for Queen Titania to fall for Bottom, a simple weaver (now transformed into an ass) while hilariously misdirecting the affections of four runaway lovers.
Synopsis complete and show about to start, we make our way to the main stage tent, which is open ended and looks out over the water. The view is stunning as the sun sets and the actors perform against the backdrop of mountains, sea and sky. The play that follows is very engaging, with a palpable sexuality. It has a nice mix of modern elements that keep fresh what could feel dated. I won’t lie and say I followed every bit; I got lost more than once but there was so much to engage my eyes that I didn’t mind. Kyle Rideout is mesmerizing as Puck and Scott Bellis is hilarious as Bottom. Never having seen a Shakespearian play, I can’t really critique except to simply say that I was entertained.
So that is that. I definitely enjoyed my Bard on the Beach experience and this blogging on the road isn’t too bad either; well, once you figure out how to access Songza and your favourite playlist, finally drowning out crying babies and incessant flight announcements (thank you Emrys!). Only 2 hours till our next flight and I have to say that while airports really are cold and disconcerting places it’s not so bad when I have you to talk to.