Photo courtesy Theatre Calgary
Shakespeare in the Park is now officially Shakespeare by the Bow. For more than 25 summer seasons through sunshine, rain, snow and lightning storms, emerging actors have entertained Calgarians with the Bard’s verse in Prince’s Island Park.
This summer, June 25 to August 9, the company presents Comedy of Errors. For newbies to seasoned fans we breakdown everything you need to know about Shakespeare on the Bow, including where to park, where to pee and where to find snacks.
A brief history
Founded in 1988 by Mount Royal University, SBTB provided emerging actors the opportunity to work with professional actors and directors.
In 2012, Theatre Calgary joined forces with SBTB and, when MRU’s theatre diploma program graduated it’s final year in 2013, TC decided to keep the summertime theatre tradition going.
When is it?
Shows run Wednesday through Sunday at 7 p.m., with weekend matinees at 2 p.m. No shows June 28-30 or during Folk Fest, July 21 to 29.
Where is it?
For most of it’s seasons SBTB has been on Prince’s Island Park, there were a few years when the show ran in MRU’s outdoor ampitheatre. The performance site on the island is accessed by three pedestrian bridges. It’s easiest to either park at Eau Claire Market and walk across the Jaipur Bridge or in the lot by the Calgary Curling Club on the north side of Memorial Dr. and the Bow. Look for a the SBTB tent and signage.
No, seating is literally on a grassy hill. Bring a blanket or those camp chairs that sit on the ground. Lawnchairs are a no-no as they obstruct views for audiences behind you. It’s also pay-what-you-can, suggested ticket price is $20. Dress for Calgary’s kooky weather.
There are bathrooms inside Eau Claire Market as well as on the island underneath River Cafe.
Bring a picnic! SBTB is ideal with a tasty spread of food to enjoy while you watch. You can load up on treats from Eau Claire Market or splurge and order a picnic basket from River Cafe for $35/per person (partial proceeds go to SBTB). The baskets are plentiful and packed with local and seasonal ingredients.
Is it in English?
Shakespeare can sound a bit strange, especially if you’re unfamiliar with it. His plays are written mostly in a pattern called iambic pentameter or blank verse. The words don’t tend to rhyme, but there is definitely a rythm to the language. As your ear adjusts, you’ll pick up more and more of the play. It’s a different way of listening than what we’re used to. There’s also usually a lot of physical comedy in Shakespeare’s shows, which helps tell the story.
Comedy of what now?
Comedy of Errors has a pretty self-explanatory title. It’s about identical twin brothers, seperated at birth, who also have identical twin servants. With me so far? One brother and his servant show up in Ephesus, which is the home of the other brother and his lackey. A whole bunch of hilarious mistaken identity mishaps ensue, including false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness and demonic possession. Here’s a more detailed synopsis. It’s short and sweet, with a run time of 90 minutes.
Visit theatrecalgary.com to learn more. See you by the Bow!