And the tradition continues…
After nearly two decades of performing Shakespeare outdoors during the summer, Repercussion Theatre has found a lasting and secure niche in Westmount.
“Especially in Westmount,” Paul Hopkins, the company’s current artistic director told The Examiner prior to the opening of their latest show, As You Like It, on Saturday, Aug.1 in Westmount Park.
“We are the only company in Montreal that consistently year after year does a Shakespeare production,” he said. “There’s no other company in Montreal that does that.”
Repercussion Theatre is performing As You Like It in 16 different venues scattered all over the Montreal region from now until Aug. 16. Most of the shows are staged in public parks in conjunction with municipalities.
As You Like It is a play that celebrates the journey through life, epitomized by the drama’s famous lines, "All the world’s a stage/ And all the men and women merely players/ They have their exits and their entrances/ And one man in his time plays many parts/ His acts being seven ages."
In Repercussion Theatre’s take on the play, Arden Forest is not in England, but in La Belle Province, featuring traditional folksy rhythms, music and dances that have entertained rural Quebec for centuries. While the production is primarily in English, there are also French-speaking characters who help reflect Montreal’s linguistic duality.
Hopkins has acted in, produced or directed several critically acclaimed productions in Montreal. As an actor, he has worked in theatres across the country, including the Stratford Festival of Canada, where he was selected for the prestigious Birmingham Conservatory of Classical Training. On television he is known for his portrayal of Michael Tolliver in Armistead Maupin’s More and Further Tales of the City.
Megan Bradley, a 22-year-year old longtime resident of NDG near Claremont Avenue, is a cast member. In As You Like It, she plays Audrey and understudies for other parts. Bradley graduated from Repercussion Theatre’s Shakespeare training program. “I learned a lot more than I ever thought possible,” said Bradley, who grew fond of acting while attending Shakespeare in the Park presentations staged in Westmount Park. She also attended John Abbott College’s professional theatre program from which she graduated last year in May.
While Bradley is currently teaching acting to children at a school in Snowdon, she hopes to acquire more acting experience in the future. “It’s always a question of going to auditions and really pouring yourself into it,” she said. “I haven’t done too much of that yet. But I always keep up with what’s going on.”
As has been the tradition for a number of years, Repercussion Theatre will be staging the two closing performances of its season on Aug. 15 and 16 in Westmount Park. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m.