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
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
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
Saturday, September 12, and
Sunday, October 25, at 10:30 a.m.
$30 (theatre tickets sold separately)
Al Fire Up
Alll Fired Up
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
stratfordshakespearefestival.com 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.
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
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
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 www.rom.on.ca 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 stratfordshakespearefestival.com 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.