Stage Door News
Stratford: Stratford Festival actors present Parkade Plays at The Bruce Hotel starting July 9
Friday, July 3, 2020
The improv comedy troupe that reintroduced live theatre to Stratford’s residential streets will soon be bringing Romeo and Juliet – reimagined for the pandemic era and set in Stratford – to The Bruce Hotel parkade.
In the midst of its success with an ongoing series of street performances, Sidewalk Scenes – actors, musicians and improv comedians Rebecca Northan, Ijeoma Emesowum, Bruce Horak and Kevin Kruchkywich – have partnered with The Bruce Hotel to present its own 75-minute rendition of the Shakespearean classic.
“As soon as drive-in theatres were allowed to reopen, we went to (Bruce Hotel owner) Jennifer (Birmingham) and said, ‘What do you think of hosting drive-in live theatre,’” Northan said.
Birmingham agreed to the proposition without hesitation, so the troupe, which had been set to perform the improvised An Undiscovered Shakespeare as part of the now-delayed Stratford Festival season, has been rehearsing in the hotel’s parking garage for the past two weeks.
“It’s great that we can never be rained out. It’s great that the parkade is always about six to eight degrees cooler than whatever the temperature outside is. There’s always a breeze flowing through there. It’s an outdoor location with a roof on it and we can take a maximum of 10 cars (per show).”
The show itself is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, with each of the four cast members performing multiple roles throughout the play thanks to a diverse set of costumes provided by the Stratford Festival.
In this rendition of the play, the two young lovers hail from “two households, both alike in dignity,” with each of their families the fictional owners of either the Revel Coffee House or Edison’s Café Bar.
“Lockdown has really forced all of us to stay home and look within, and also, now as we’re opening up, it’s like, ‘How do we support community?’ Well, we as artists, want to entertain the local community, but we also want to feature the local community. So ... it’s the greatest love story ever told, but it’s unfolding right now, in Stratford, during COVID,” Northan said.
At $110 for two, and an extra $35 for each additional person in a vehicle, the cost of admission will include lobster BLT sandwiches, a chef-made non-alcoholic drink each, and a sweet and salty snackbox to enjoy during the show.
Audience members must remain in their vehicles with their windows cracked during performances to ensure proper physical distancing and other public-health measures can remain in place.
Parkade Plays will run from July 9 to Aug. 20 on Thursday evenings beginning at 6 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.thebruce.ca.
Photo: Ijeoma Emesowum, Bruce Horak, Rebecca Northan and Kevin Kruchkywich. © 2020 Tristan Yurry.