The Delta Optimist says, May 1st 2018 …
It is 1934 Hollywood, and Jack Warner is in a “spot” ! His girlfriend, starlet, Lydia Lansing wants to be cast in a “class picture”, not the “dreck” she’s been in so far.
Enter Max Reinhardt, Jewish, German stage director escaping from the Nazis .He suggests making a movie of Shakespeare’s famous comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” . Jack’s three brothers ( Sam, Harry, and Albert ) are not enthused about the idea. Sam Warner says “That’ll put us right in the crapper”. ( A man with a way with words ! )
However, Lydia’s talents ( and we’re not talking about acting talents ) – prevail. The studio decides to go ahead with filming , and Jack casts the girlfriend ( of course ) in the role of “Helena” . A young newcomer, Olivia ( based on the movie star, Olivia De Havilland starring in her first Hollywood film ) is cast as “Hermia”.
Various contract players at Warner Brothers studios are then added; Jimmy Cagney ( as “Bottom” the weaver), Joe E. Brown ( as”Francis Flute”,) and Dick Powell ( as “Lysander”.). These are actors with little or no experience in understanding or playing Shakespeare. ( But the studio is paying them on a weekly basis anyway, so why not use them ? Why not indeed ? )
Complications ensue with the arrival of the despotic and powerful movie censor, Will Hays. He comes with a long list of objections from ” The American Legion of Decency” ( a strong lobbyist organization in America at the time ). Another famous person of the period appears in the form of Louella Parsons, the influential gossip columnist. She could make or break a career, under all her smiles and cooing.
Into this mix enter the “real” “Oberon” and “Puck”, characters , from the actual Shakespeare play. These fantasy creatures are plunged straight into the confusing world of a movie studio.There they meet Daryl, the Hollywood “yes -man”, movie extras , movie fans, film crew ,and others.
Both Oberon and Puck start to impact, and are personally themselves impacted, by the people around them with hilarious results . Puck continuously gives a magic flower (with a powerful love potion ) to the wrong people ! Love blooms, but with unintended consequences.
Puck finally gets it right and lovers are re-united. Lives are changed, the movie gets completed, and. the interfering government villain is vanquished ( in a very ridiculous way ! ) Like Shakespeare’s beautiful play – love triumphs over all, by the end of the story.
Shakespeare’s Happy Hollywood
Director’s TALK: Shakespeare in HOLLYWOOD
Catherine Morrison received her BFA from UBC majoring in theatre. She both directed and acted at the Frederic Wood Theatre and the Dorothy Sommerset Studio.
Catherine has directed over 30 productions at the Metro Theatre plus 3 pantos, as well as acting on stage and stage managing.
Join Director Morrison and the cast of Shakespeare in HOLLYWOOD immediately after the show on Friday, April 20th for an informal chat.
Discussions will centre around:
How multiple locations presented challenges to staging this production.
The implications of vastly different time periods to costuming Shakespeare in HOLLYWOOD
Technical insights into producing a play of this magnitude.
Catherine will then invite questions from the audience.
There is no additional charge for the Director’s Talk, just stay in your seats or move up a bit closer to the stage. The session will last approximately 20 minutes.
Performances are Thursday to Saturday at 8:00 pm, with Sunday Matinees at 2:00 pm. Run time is 2 hours 15 min.
April 14th to May 12th, Thursday through Saturday nights with Matinees on April 22nd, April 29th & May 6th.
The preview is on Friday, April 13th, the final dress rehearsal.
1370 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC. Next to the on-ramp to the Arthur Laing Bridge by Marine Drive and Granville .
Tickets are $25 for adults or $22 for seniors and students, with a special every Thursday 2 for $38. Preview performance $15.
BOX OFFICE WINDOWS HOURS:
Wed – Sat 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm & 1 Hour before each show.
Box Office Phone: 604 266 7191
LICENSED LOUNGE HOURS:
Show Performance Evenings – 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Show Performance Matinees – 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
There is plenty of easy parking – in the parking lot, on the street, even ‘All Evening Parking’ for $4 at the Liquor Store Lot just up the street from Metro.
We’re close to the Marpole bus loop and on the #10 route. Check out www.translink.ca for transit directions.
CONTACT: Metro for more information, publicity photos, arrangements for interviews and press tickets.
Metro Theatre proudly presents Shakespeare in HOLLYWOOD written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Catherine Morrison
What happens when two savvy playwrights from very different centuries collaborate? In the case of skilled modern farceur Ken Ludwig & Renaissance wonder William Shakespeare; the result is the madcap comedy Shakespeare in HOLLYWOOD.
Take the glitz, glamour, dollars and censorship of post Depression Hollywood, add Max Reinhardt a sophisticated German director with an artistic vision populated by the delightfully exaggerated, personalities of James Cagney, Dick Powell, and Joe E Brown, and have him implore movie producer Jack Warner to pony up to do a movie version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Declaring the venture a sure-to-flop oddity, Jack is forced to agree because his sexy mistress demands to be cast in a “prestige” pictureWhat Fools These Mortals Be
Now imagine that Oberon, the fairly king, and his sidekick, Puck, have transmogrified onto the set and been cast to play themselves. That is what Ken Ludwig has done in this farce full of impersonations, comic interpretations and cleverly contrived complications of lust, love, jealousy, and fairy mischief.
Shakespeare in HOLLYWOOD is a perfect marriage between the Bard’s happiest play – A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the 1930’s film. It is full of entertainment, screwball havoc, and even a little bit of education. ~ Director Catherine Morrison
Act One – GraumansChinese Theatre, Office at Warner Brothers Studios, The Sound Stage at Warner Brothers Studios, The Warner Brothers Commissary, Warner Brothers Costume Shop and Sound Stage
Act Two – Jack Warner’s Beverly Hills namsion, Office at Warner Brothers Studios and Sound Stage at Warner Brothers Studios.
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
Oberon … Josh Zumstein
Puck … Kevin Sloan
Jack Warner … Kimball Finigan
Max Reinhardt … Adrian Maxwell
Will Hays … Rob Gillespie
Daryl … Kwasi Thomas
Olivia Darnell … Isabella Ciccone
Lydia Lansing … Erica Bearss
Louella Parsons … Alison Schamberger
Dick Powell / Albert Warner … Shane Steward
Jimmy Cagney / Sam Warner … Richard Guenther
Joe E Brown … Mark MacDonald
Harry Warner … Don McKay
Ensemble … Don McKay, Colleen Shook, Allison Kendall, Deborah Watts