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Theatre festival opens in Nassau
  
Monday, 03 October 2011 14:52

Mark Antony (Matthew Wildgoose) observes the body of Brutus (David J. Burrows). (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)NASSAU, Bahamas -- Stages came alive this weekend as the 10-day theatre festival Shakespeare in Paradise kicked off its third year in Nassau. With five different shows at three different venues (and several schools) around the island, theatergoers and performing arts aficionados are once again being treated to a high-calibre array of shows.

Festival Director Nicolette Bethel said that this year's selections were chosen to appeal to a variety of tastes and interests, encompassing plays of local and international origin, but all with universal themes and appeal.

"Of course, we have a Shakespeare play as our centerpiece, and this year that is 'Julius Caesar'. It's got political drama, deception and intrigue that every politician and voter can identify with, even in our Bahamas today." Bethel said one of the factors that went into selecting 'Julius Caesar' was its relevance to the growing political climate as the country heads into another election season.

"Our presentation of 'Julius Caesar' is true to the original form and is given a contemporary context," the festival director said. "This certainly makes it easier to follow, and audiences really engage its intensity and energy as the relationships between the characters are so much clearer." Bethel says that Shakespeare himself adapted his own work to suit the audience, and this is exactly what they have done here.

Portia (Lisa-Marie Cabrelli) frets over the plan of Brutus as the Soothsayer (Jane Poveromo) looks on. (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)"Our signature Bahamian play is actually a musical retelling of the well-known and loved 'Dis We Tings'," Bethel said of the play which she re-imagined and also directs. "People just love celebrating our music and culture and the unique parts of our society, and 'Dis We Tings' does that. It's a fun show and one that every Bahamian should make an effort to see."

Both of these shows are being presented on the stage of the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts on Mackey Street.

The widely acclaimed production 'Mariah Brown' finally debuts in Nassau, after having run in Abaco and Key West. "'Mariah Brown' is a moving story about the African-Bahamian pioneer Mariah Brown who was instrumental in settling Coconut Grove," Bethel explains. "We're excited to bring this excellent story that has historical significance inside and outside the Bahamas." It is written by Sandra Riley and presented in cooperation with the Bahamas Historical Society at their location on the corner of Shirley Street and Elizabeth Avenue.

'Lovestruck' is a student-focused production by the performing troupe Bard to Go visiting from Grand Valley State University. It is a high-energy introduction to the works of William Shakespeare that is being presented to Bahamian students as part of Shakespeare in Paradise, and which runs throughout this week among public and private schools.

The conspiracy unfolds as Cassius (Jovanna Hepburn) awaits the arrival of Casca (Hartman-Oral-Noel Brown). (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)Already nearly 1,000 local students have participated in Shakespeare in Paradise, seeing 'Julius Caesar' during school matinees last week.

Venerable Bahamian musician and storyteller Pat Rahming is also part of Shakespeare in Paradise as he presents his one-man show 'Pat Rahming Alias Pat Rahming'. Audiences will get to know what makes the man, the musician and the legend with a journey through his music and poetry. The limited-run show is at Nirvana Beach Restaurant and Bar, West Bay Street.

The theatre festival has attracted attention through the effective use of the online social network Facebook where more than 1,100 fans are keeping up with the show schedule, viewing photos and videos, and interacting and sharing with other fans inside and outside the Bahamas. (The Facebook page is at: facebook.com/shakespeareinparadise)

Festival organisers have established a special airfare for residents of Grand Bahama and Abaco with Sky Bahamas. Those with Shakespeare in Paradise tickets can travel at a discounted rate of $110 roundtrip, making attending the festival less costly and easier for those on other islands to enjoy the events.

Brutus (David J. Burrows) holds Cassius' (Jovanna Hepburn) head in his hands as Casca (Hartman-Oral-Noel Brown) looks on. (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)The festival also has its own web site at shakespeareinparadise.org. Tickets are available through The Dundas box office (393-3728).

Festival Artistic Director Philip Burrows said that audiences have several choices to see the shows, but shouldn't wait too late. "Even though every show has multiple performances, there is limited seating and it all ends this Saturday [Oct 8]," he said. "This is a great chance to see a wonderful range of live theatre shows and performances in a short period of time, so you really don't want to miss it."

Shakespeare in Paradise is presented by RingPlay Productions (ringplay.com), a repertory theatre production company whose mission is to further the development of the arts in The Bahamas by presenting the best in national, regional and world theatre.

'Julius Caesar' by William Shakespeare is the featured play of Shakespeare in Paradise. This presentation is true to the original form and is given a contemporary context, making it more accessible to modern-day audiences, without compromising the integrity of the original.

Photo 1: Mark Antony (Matthew Wildgoose) observes the body of Brutus (David J. Burrows). (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)

Casca (Hartman-Oral-Noel Brown) conveys the events of the day to Cassius (Jovanna Hepburn) as Brutus (David J. Burrows) listens. (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)Photo 2: Portia (Lisa-Marie Cabrelli) frets over the plan of Brutus as the Soothsayer (Jane Poveromo) looks on. (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)

Photo 3: The conspiracy unfolds as Cassius (Jovanna Hepburn) awaits the arrival of Casca (Hartman-Oral-Noel Brown). (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)

Photo 4: Brutus (David J. Burrows) holds Cassius' (Jovanna Hepburn) head in his hands as Casca (Hartman-Oral-Noel Brown) looks on. (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)

Photo 5: Casca (Hartman-Oral-Noel Brown) conveys the events of the day to Cassius (Jovanna Hepburn) as Brutus (David J. Burrows) listens. (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)

Brutus (David J. Burrows) is haunted by the ghost of Julius Caesar (Gordon Mills). (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)Photo 6:  Brutus (David J. Burrows) is haunted by the ghost of Julius Caesar (Gordon Mills). (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)

Photo 7: Cassius (Jovanna Hepburn) tells Brutus (David J. Burrows) that Caesar is no better than him. (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)

Cassius (Jovanna Hepburn) tells Brutus (David J. Burrows) that Caesar is no better than him. (Photo: Sacha Hadland / Keen i Media Ltd)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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