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Sounder: “Gabriola Players present A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

© Derek Kilbourn, Gabriola Sounder, Tuesday, June 23 2015

Garry Davey

This coming weekend, the Gabriola Players will be staging an open air version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream off Berry Point Road.

Gabriolan Garry Davey, a long-time member of the Nanaimo theatre community, has adapted a shortened version of Shakespeare’s popular comedy for the Players.

Lawrence Spero, representing the Gabriola Players, said the main goal for them was to “bring Shakespeare to young people. We’re hoping more of them will get involved in theatre. Not just with the Players, but with all theatre.”

Half the profits of the show will be donated to People for a Healthy Community (PHC).

Davey said there’d been an adaptation of the script considered to begin with but, “I wasn’t enamoured of it, so I redid the adaptation. I’ve directed the play before. It is a favourite of mine, I know the play well. I took a few liberties, switched a few words around so it was clearer.

“[The Players] were reticent to put a toe in the pool, but they are really jumping around in the pool now.”

It was the Gabriola Players who came up with the idea to do an adapted version of the play, but Davey said it’s something that’s been in the back of his mind for years. He heard through his partner Donna Deacon during the last Players performance (Jenny’s House of Joy) about the plans and he’d asked who was doing the script.

“I said I’d like to offer to not do it as a professional director, but come in as a dialogue coach and help because I like what the players are trying to do for the community. This is a perfect chance for me, because it is a play I love and I’ve taught it with teenagers.

“Who better on the island to do this, unless it was Antony Holland?”

Davey said there has been a lot of community support from sponsors and Gabriola at large.

“I feel like that’s what I like about community theatre, is community is the first word in the phrase. People need to remember it is community, and shared, and needs to be a community effort in a number of different ways.”

He said the cast and support crew are enjoying all the fun and spirit there is to find in Shakespeare.

“I’m a senior now…what I see in the club is a lot of them are seniors. All of the ‘lovers’ in our play are in their 60s or older.

“Everybody, as they embody these lovers, and who they are in love with now, it is all so childish in so many ways. It takes people back to being teenagers having their heartstrings being tugged. It is so timeless. We’ve all been through this as teenagers. It is fun to have us seniors re-experiencing it again.”

And while it is Shakespeare (meaning there a lot of fun and naughty puns to be played with) and it is the Gabriola Players (who are no strangers to puns) the script is safe for a family audience.

The play is free for children at the Sunday matinee.

Audiences are encouraged to bring sunscreen.

Davey said a big thank you needed to go out to George and Nikki Westharp for providing the location to stage the play.

“It’ll be like being out on an early evening picnic – we’re encouraging people to bring their lawn chair and blanket, sit out on the grass and enjoy the offerings.

“It’ll be pretty fast-paced, but the language will be accessible for people. It should be a romp.”

On Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27 at 6 p.m. and on Sunday, June 28 at 2 p.m. Gabriola Players present open air staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Bring a blanket or a chair to 775 Seagirt Road (parking off Berry Point, opposite Camp Miriam).

Tickets: $15 at North Road Sports or at gabriolaplayers.ca. (Sunday matinee is free for children and youth under 15.)

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