by Sam Mooney
Someone must have told director Scott Moyle to go play in the park. He did. And took a bunch of friends with him. The result is Urban Bard’s production of Twelfth Night now playing in the courtyard behind College Park.
You’re probably thinking that this is just another Shakespeare in the park kind of performance. It isn’t. The courtyard is a big space and the action – with audience tagging along – moves around and makes use of it. It was wonderful
The space was the set. The play opens with Richard Mansworthy as The Captain rescuing Lindsay Alston as Viola from a shipwreck. The ocean is the pond at College Park. The was a sword fight on the balcony, a set of stairs and a planter featured prominently. Although there’s no set to speak of, in a couple of places there are chalk drawings by Andrew Cheddie Sookrah that define areas. I loved the painting of the painting.
Urban Bard is a new production company focused on using Toronto’s urban landscape to stage entertaining theatre, to bring theatre to people rather than asking people to come to a theatre.
There must have been twice as many people in the audience at the end of the play than there were at the beginning. People came out of College Park with their groceries, stopped to see what was happening, and stayed to watch the play. Couples out strolling stopped and stayed. There was a woman with a baby in a stroller and a daughter on a small bike – training wheels still attached. Mom sat with baby on one of the benches while her daughter rode around, stopping to watch the play when something caught her eye.
There was a security guard who moved with the audience and was engrossed in the play. I don’t know if he was ‘guarding’ or not but it was the play that kept him there.
On the poster and on the website it says ‘wear comfortable shoes, you’ll be moving around a lot’. You will, and you’ll spend most of the time standing. Wear comfortable shoes and head to College Park. You’ll have a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Photo of Richard Mansworthy and Lindsay Alston and of the chalk drawing by Sam Mooney.
-Twelfth Night is playing in the College Park Courtyard behind College Park (corner of Yonge and College
– Performances at at 7 pm on September 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26
– Pay what you can – $10.00 donation suggested