Shakespeare in Victoria Park set to take to the stage

Raissa Tetanish
Published on July 4, 2014
Hannah Morgan and Alex Purdy rehearse a scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which is to be performed in Victoria Park this month. Opening day was to be Friday, however, it has been delayed due to the weekend’s forecast.
Raissa Tetanish – Truro Daily News

TRURO – All the hard work over the past two months is about to pay off for local actors, actresses, musicians, and dancers.

Friday was to be the opening night of Shakespeare in Victoria Park, featuring Romeo and Juliet, however, because of the forecast, it will be delayed until July 8.

“This has been really a fantastic experience,” said Lenore Zann, who is directing the play. “There are so many talented people in the Truro area who have risen to the plate for this performance.”

For the past seven weeks, the cast and crew have been working on preparing the performance, which will begin at 7 p.m. each night at Victoria Park from July 8 to July 10.

“All of the cast have been rehearsing separately within the town, and I’ve been rehearsing closely with 45 actors at Victoria Park and Showcase Productions,” said Zann. “In the early days, we were rehearsing in the space at Showcase and in my backyard, but now we’re walking through the park and adding in the music and the props.”

While the actors and actresses have been learning their lines, some have also been learning the art of fencing thanks to Murdo Messer, who is also making some muskets for the soldiers in the play.

The choir has been rehearsing with Ross Thompson, the dancers with Josée Bourgeois, and the live band will feature a number of musicians from both the Truro junior and Bible Hill junior high schools, as well as a Celtic harp player in her 70s.

“For me, what this shows is the community coming together to contribute all of their skills for one reason,” said the director, who also hosted a Shakespeare play in the park last year.

“These are time-worn stories and Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most classic stories. Many of the things in the play are what people would recognize.”

The classic story features the longstanding feud between the Montague and Capulet families, however, in this version, the families are Acadian and British, and it’s set in Cobequid in the 1750s before the Acadians were deported.

Sarah Paterson has been working diligently over the past seven weeks on the costumes for the cast, complete with authentic Acadian and British costumes, and even borrowing those for British soldiers.

Café l’Acadie will be on site with Acadian treats for purchase.

With six locations being used throughout the park, Zann said mobility issues were taken into consideration.

“With transitioning from location to location, there is nothing too strenuous, and there are no stairs to climb,” she said, adding the longest jaunt would be from the barbecue pavilion, along the river and up to the stonewall.

Along with the contributions from the local community, both the Town of Truro and Municipality of Colchester County contributed to the event, both approving $2,500 to cover costs of props and other materials.

Close to 900 people took in the performances last year, and Zann hopes to see just as many this weekend. There is no charge for the performances.

Twitter: @TDNRaissa