When Juliet asks, “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” the answer will be Bower Ponds in Red Deer.
Prime Stock Theatre’s Bard on Bower will return this summer for its eighth season with performances of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and Henry V on the shore of Bower Ponds.
Dan Vasquez, Prime Stock Theatre president, said having the performances outside creates a unique atmosphere.
“Sometimes when there’s rain, lightning or thunder, it happens at just the right moment and we just roll with it. It makes the show better for everyone who’s there,” said Vasquez.
The shows will go on, rain or shine.
It began to hail during one Romeo and Juliet performance in the past, Vasquez said. The performers and audience powered through the weather and then jumped on stage for some cover.
“That’s the kind of thing you’ll never experience in an indoor performance,” he said.
Vasquez, who has been with the theatre group since 2012, said they hope more people come to Bard on Bower this year.
“There are people every year who don’t know this takes place in Bower Ponds. We’ll have people walking by the stage wondering what’s going on. It could be better attended,” he said.
In addition to Romeo and Juliet, and Henry V, there will be 40-minute performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at various parks in Red Deer and Red Deer County.
“We hope to make it a little festival for every neighbourhood,” said Vasquez. “You’d just go down to the park with your neighbours and watch some Shakespeare.”
Auditions for Bard on Bower are Saturday at the Red Deer Fencing Club (33 Mckenzie Cres.) in Gasoline Alley from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thomas Usher, artistic director, said there will be different levels of performers in the plays; professionals, people who are brand new to theatre and recent Red Deer College acting graduates.
“It’s more than just the role we cast for,” said Usher. “We are working together as a team to put this whole thing on. It’s not a place for anyone with large ‘actor egos’ that get in the way. We can’t afford to do that with the amount of time we have.”
“The people we’ve had in the past have been great people,” Usher added.
For an audition, performers must review the character lists and be prepare to speak about their preferences. They also must perform one classical monologue from a play that is not in the season, but suits a character you may be interested in playing.
To book an audition, email email@example.com.
An Edmonton audition is scheduled for Friday from 5 to 10:30 p.m.
There will be eight Romeo and Juliet performances beginning July 11 and eight Henry V performances beginning July 19. Bard on Bower closes July 29.
More information is available at www.primestocktheatre.com.