Monday, July 19, 2010

Shakespeare on San Juan Island

 Island Stage Left's production of King Henry V, photo courtesy John Sinclair

What an amazing week this has been. The weather was summer, flocks of  friends have chosen to show up on the island. After the gallery by day, I am always looking for ways to share island night life with family and friends.

On San Juan Island, we have a treasure called Stage Left whose mission is to provide free professional quality theater to both the residents of  San Juan Island and its visitors.

This year's Shakespeare under the Stars  is King Henry V.

The performances are usually in the evening just prior to sunset. The evening we attended, I remembered to bring my sleeping bag to sit in. Under the stars on San Juan Island, it does Get Cold when the sun sets. That Sunday night the temperature dropped to 49. This has been such an odd summer.

[One can arrive early, bringing a picnic dinner and have a tailgate party. The property that is home to Stage Left has a newly fenced garden. It is a lovely addition to the locale.]

Zipped up in my toasty outfit, hat on my head, I was prepared to be mesmerized by the words of the bard performed on a simply built sturdy stage in the middle of San Juan Island under a moonlight night after a wonderful meal.

The production is an ongoing ensemble cast with each actor playing multiple roles. Costumes are hung on pegs in the rear of the set and are changed repeatedly as actors change their characters.

As with a simplified set, the scenic changes occur with addition or subtraction of  tables and chairs, helping to create the illusion of a palace or a battlefield.

Sitting under the light of a almost half moon was magical.

I found myself closing my eyes and being transported to the days of Henry V .

Politics ruled the day, accented with the human traits of greed and love, etiquette and proprietary, war and peace and of course boy gets girl!

The versatility of this group of actors, the simplicity of the set design, the contemporary and antique costumes all help create the time of Henry V. It is a fabulous production with a stellar cast.

 As it states on the program, "production design elements are kept deliberately simple and concentration is on acting and interpretation. In this way the company is able to focus on the art rather than the administration."

A must see for the summer season of 2010 on San Juan Island! Their spring production of The Clean House By Sarah Ruhl was fantastic.

The show runs a couple of hours without intermission. And the golden buckets await your  financial contribution as we know it is not inexpensive to produce live quality theater. It is marvelous to have such a theater troupe on San Juan Island.

Their website for more info:Stage Left

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