We went to Signal Hill last night to see the final Shakespeare By The Sea production of Hamlet. As you can see, the set is the backdrop of the area; apart from a couple of benches and a modest amount of props (goblets and sharp pointy things that are mentioned in the script, for instance), the actors were basically out there with their imaginations.
This is the view of the action from the blanket where I sat. (Martha and Nick had the chairs we toted along, while I made a mental note to buy a third.)
You can see Dave Sullivan as Hamlet - he was terrific - and Janet Edmonds as the luxurious sinner, Gertrude.
Shakespeare By The Sea has had a rough season this year because of miserable weather; there was a full crowd on Saturday night, and we watched Twelfth Night last week in Conception Bay South with another large audience. It shows that there's an audience there, as long as the weather plays along. You can hear an interview here that I did with artistic director Jennifer Deon for the St. John's Morning Show; as she says, things are not so certain following a season everyone would prefer to forget.
We went to see Makin' Time with the Yanks, the remounting that Resource Centre for the Arts has done at the LSPU Hall of a Mummers Troupe show from (believe it or not) 30 years ago. Mary Walsh returned to direct the show, which is about young women in St. John's meeting up with young Americans while the war was raging in Europe.
I was in high school when the first production was made, and there was plenty I didn't appreciate at the time - the history and complexities of the U.S. presence in Newfoundland during the Second World War, for starters, plus how lucky we were at the time to have had so many original productions that were written and performed by the casts. Like others, Makin' Time With the Yanks followed interviews and research, and three decades later, those stories (clarified through comedy) are more precious because there are far fewer people around to recall the era.
I found the new production much more polished, even elegant, and more tuneful somehow. Still, I remember laughing more during the original show. It was certainly a pleasure, though, to have the characters back, and the stories.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.