In Shakespeare's

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 a pu blication for fa m ilies atten ding th e str atfor d sh a k espea r e festi va l

 sum mer | fa ll 2009

Find us

on Facebook at
our new Stratford
Festival Fan Page
to play games,
watch videos and
see behind-the-                                         In Shakespeare’s
scenes photos                                              A Midsummer Night’s Dream, half of the
every week. You                                            characters are not mortals (like you and
                                                          me) but fairies. You’ll recognize the fairies
can also access                                             on stage by their gossamer wings and
our YouTube                                                      sparkly wands, right?
videos right                                                         Wrong. The presence of
from the page!                                                      imaginary creatures in the play
                                                                    gives costume designers the
                                                                   chance to let their creativity run
                                                                  wild, and the results almost never
                                                               look like the Tooth Fairy.
                                                               Take this season’s fairies, for example.
                                                             The humans in the show are dressed in
                                                              beautiful 1950s clothes, but the fairies
                                                               live in a world outside of time and
                                                              their outfits include leather, fishnet
                                                             stockings, fingerless gloves and tattoos.
                                                            (Call it Puck as punk.)
        Sponsored by:                                    Sometimes the look of the fairies is
                                                      inspired by the part of the world in which
                                                      the director decides to set the play, as in
                                                      our 2004 production of Dream. The play in
Get $39.95 tickets for kids 18 and
                                                      that case was set in South America, and the
under. Call the Box Office for details.
                                                      fairies’ home was the jungle, so they wore
                                                      fantastically coloured bodysuits and painted
Family Friendly Savings!                             their faces; they looked a little like rainforest
When you purchase tickets through                   birds. (Some of the fairies flew down from the
the Family Experience program, you’ll               ceiling on bungee cords, so the bodysuits were
also receive coupons for local stores                 handy for aerodynamics as well.)
and restaurants. Visit our website at                     Bodysuits and tights have featured
                                                        prominently in several Dreams. Another
familyexperience for details!
                                                         bodysuited production took place in 1999;
                                                       continued on back
                                            Cara Ricketts, Karen Glave and Amanda Lisman as the Weird Sisters

Theatre Explorer
West Side Story: Song and Dance
Find out what being in a Stratford
Shakespeare Festival musical is really
like! Company members will teach
you a song and dance from West
Side Story. May we suggest lunch at
the Festival Theatre Café before the
matinée performance?
Saturday, September 12, and
Sunday, October 25, at 10:30 a.m.
$30 (theatre tickets sold separately)

                                          Al Fire Up
                                          Alll Fired Up
Backstage Tours
Let our guides take you on a walking
tour behind the scenes at the Festival
Theatre. See our props and wardrobe
departments and much more.
Most Wednesdays through Sundays,
                                          If you’ve seen this season’s production of Macbeth,
at 9 and 9:15 a.m. Tours last one hour.   you know what it’s like to be thrown back in your seat by stage pyrotechnics.
                                          The dazzling flash that opens the show is just one of five special fire effects
Costume and Props                         (“pyrotechnic” is derived from the Greek words for fire and art) that make the
Warehouse Tours                           battle scenes in the play feel like a video game come to life.
                                             Yes, we’re talking about real fire on stage. If you think that sounds dangerous,
Take a closer look at the work of
                                          you’re right: in fact, the Globe Theatre, where many of Shakespeare’s plays were
the Festival’s world-class designers,
                                          first performed, burned to the ground in 1613 after a special effect – in that
wardrobe staff and prop-makers.           instance, a cannon – set fire to the roof during a performance of Henry VIII. With
Thousands of costumes and hundreds        that kind of history, it’s no wonder theatres nowadays take fire safety seriously.
of props are catalogued and stored           Buildings no longer have roofs made of straw like the one at the Globe, but
at one of the largest costume             you’ll still find lots of things in a theatre that could catch fire, from the heavy
warehouses in North America.              curtains that hide the backstage area to the costumes the actors wear. At
Wednesdays through Saturdays,             Stratford, all of these are treated with fire-retardant chemicals.
at 10, 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m.              But actors and their costumes shouldn’t be near the explosions to begin with:
Tours last 45 minutes.
                                          pyrotechnic effects can only be handled by someone with a special licence, like
                                          stage crew member Tim Hartman.
                                             Tim’s job in Macbeth begins before the show with the preparation of
All tours are $8 per person or
                                          the effects. The spectacular bangs and flashes are produced by very small
$6 for seniors and students.              quantities of two different powders. If you light either of them separately,
                                          nothing much happens; you have to mix them together to make what’s called
Box office: 1.800.567.1600                active material. Tim measures the right amount of the active mixture into flash          pots, which are steel cylinders that direct the explosion upwards, and adds an
                                          electric match that’s connected to a control board.
                                             When it’s almost time to fire the effect, the stage manager tells Tim to “stand
                                          by,” and he unlocks the control board with a key. When he hears “Go,” he
                                          pushes the big red button – and a split-second later hears the audience gasp.
What do
you do ?                                        En garde !
                                                                                                       Paul Nolan astonishes
                                                                                                       West Side Story audiences when, in the
                                                                                                       lead role of Tony, he pulls himself up
                                                                                                       on his true love’s balcony using just
Some jobs                                                                                              the strength of his arms. In Cyrano de
in the theatre are                                                                                     Bergerac Paul plays Valvert, the snobbish
obvious – like “actor.”                                                                                swordsman who duels with Cyrano at the
But have you ever looked at the credits in                                                             beginning of the play – and that’s a whole
your program and wondered what some                                                                    different kind of workout.
of those other jobs are? For instance, what’s                                                             Paul once took a course in stage
a voice coach? What’s a scenic artist?                                                                 swordsmanship, so he was under no
Voice Coach
                                                Paul Nolan (left) as Valvert and Colm Feore as Cyrano
                                                                                                      illusion that learning the Cyrano-Valvert
                                                duel would be a breeze. “I knew how hard stage swordfighting is,” he says. “First of
A voice coach is a singing teacher,             all the swordfight is difficult, and then to be safe but make it look like you’re trying
right? Not at the Stratford Shakespeare         to hurt the other person is even harder.”
Festival, where an entire department               Fight director John Stead started with
is devoted to helping actors use their          a crash course for the cast, teaching
voices and bodies to best effect.               them how to hold a sword and perform
Reaching the last row in an 1,800-seat
                                                the basic attacks and parries. Then it
theatre without the aid of a microphone
                                                was time for Paul and Colm Feore, who
is no easy feat, but actors are required
                                                plays Cyrano, to learn and practise their
to do it day in and day out for months
                                                fight. Normally, John creates the fight
on end. Voice coaches work with them
in one-on-one tutorials, and also lead          choreography during rehearsals, working
group warm-ups, to ensure that every            it out step by step with the actors. But
word spoken on stage is heard and               there was so much to do in Cyrano that he
understood – and that no actor shouts           sped up the process by designing the fight
                                                                                                           Paul Nolan (left) as Valvert and Colm Feore as Cyrano
himself hoarse in the process.                  before rehearsals began.
                                                   “Then Colm and I learned each pass,” Paul says. “A pass is a phrase of
Scenic Artist                                   choreography. It takes a long time to build; you have to go very, very slowly. I
                                                spent a lot of overtime hours to learn it.” The rule of thumb is that every second
Every piece of scenery at the Festival,
                                                of stage combat requires an hour of rehearsal.
from floors to walls to bridges to
                                                   Paul is a trained dancer, and he found that background stood him in good stead
backdrops, is fashioned from scratch in
the scene shop. But the basic building          when it came to moving like Valvert. “He’s an upper-class snob who would have
materials are called on to look like            had extensive sword training – not necessarily for battle purposes, but like a kid
everything else under the sun, and              in Saskatchewan learning to play hockey. He’s a dangerous guy because of that
that’s where the paint shop steps in.           training.
Scenic artists there transform wood,               “He has a totally different fighting style from Cyrano: he’s aggressive but also
metal and Styrofoam into stone, glass,          beautiful and finessed.”
fields of wheat – anything the set
designer has in mind. Check out the
set pieces displayed outside Aisle 9 in
the Festival Theatre or take a costume
warehouse tour to see some of their
work up close.
                                                          continued from front   the costume worn by
                                                              Jordan Pettle as that year’s Puck is on display

                                                                                                                                     The ROM
                                                                  outside Aisle 9 at the Festival Theatre.

                                                                       Back in 1960, when A Midsummer
                                                                       Night’s Dream was produced for
                                                                          the first time at Stratford, the                    is offering up to
                                                                            director and designer took
                                                                             a cue from the lines in the                      30% savings
                                                                                                                              for patrons of
                                                                              play that describe fairies as
                                                                              smaller than humans and
                                                                              cast children in the fairy                      the Stratford
                                                                              parts. This year just one of
                                                                              the fairies is played by a kid:
                                                                             Abigail Winter-Culliford, who
                                                                            turns 13 during the run of the                    Festival!
                                                                           show, is Moth.
                                                                           One of the most beautiful                          Just follow these step-by-
                                                                     Dreams was in 1976 and 1977,                             step instructions to save!
                                                                   with Jessica Tandy as the fairy queen                      1. Visit and select
                                                               Titania in the first year and Maggie                              the “buy tickets” icon from the
                                                          Smith – yes, the same one who plays                                    homepage.
                                                           Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter
                                                                                                                              2. After selecting “buy tickets” the
                                                              movies – the second year. The play was                             next page will ask Who Are You?
                                                               set in the Elizabethan period (when                               Please select “corporate clients”
                                                                Shakespeare lived), and the costumes                             and click on “buy now.”
                                                                were sumptuous creations in black
                                                                                                                              3. Select ticket type.
                                                               (for humans) and white (for fairies) with
                                                              lots of silver and gold. The production                         4. Choose a desired date for your visit.
                                                            was unusual in that, apart from the colour
                                                                                                                              5. Finally, input the promotional code
                                                           difference, fairies and humans wore the
                                                                                                                                 STRATFORD, and select the number
                                                           same style of clothes.                                                of tickets you wish to purchase.
                             Costume sketches by Jonathan Fensom

                                                                      Thy family shall have fun for less.
                                                                       BMO® Financial Group proudly sponsors the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s
                                                                       Family Experience program. This program brings you great savings on
                                                                       theatre tickets, discounts for Stratford stores and restaurants, and access to
                                                                       special events for the whole family, such as:
                                                                     • Backstage and costume warehouse tours
                                                                     • Theatre Explorer Adventures
                                                                     • Chats with the acting company
                                                                     • Interactive workshops

                                                                       Please visit for more information.

                                                                                                              Sponsored by:        Proud to be a part of our community

Students at the Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ontario.               ®   Registered trade-mark of Bank of Montreal.

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