Alison Hart, playing the role of William Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway, rehearses a scene from the The Performers’ Company’s upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Will. PHOTO SUBMITTED
“I long for the sea,” is the opening line from the coming production by The Performers’ Company of Shakespeare’s Will.
Set to open at The Maritime Conference Centre on Wednesday, Mar. 26, this one-woman play based on the life of Anne Hathaway and her marriage to William Shakespeare is indeed a reflection upon longing, love and the place the sea has in Anne’s life. This engaging piece of theatre is based on quotes from Shakespeare’s actual will, but this is not merely a reading and extrapolation of the details. The will’s contents are only revealed at the end of the play, but throughout the production they hover in the background like a dark shadow. In between we are invited into scenes from Anne’s life as she reminisces about past events, and as she begins to come to terms with the loss of her husband and the impending reading of his will.
Written by Winnipeg-born playwright Vern Thiessen, the play has already been staged at the Stratford Festival in Ontario twice, as well as a number of other venues around the world. Written in 2005, it was nominated for the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding New Play. Thiessen has also been recognized for his play-writing skills as a recipient of a number of literary awards, including the Governor General’s Award for English-Language Drama (Einstein’s Gift); the Carol Bolt Award for Best Play (Vimy); and the Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play (Apple).
In the role of Anne Hathaway will be local actress Alison Hart, a veteran of many years in the theatre both in Canada and in the United Kingdom. Alison has already performed with The Performers’ Company in a variety of roles. Most recently she played the Italian housekeeper in last year’s production of “Enchanted April”. A role that saw her speaking entirely in Italian! Previous to this Alison also performed with The Performers’ Company in the lead role of Judith Bliss in Noel Coward’s popular play “Hay Fever” and then in the role of Madge, the stage manager, in “The Dresser”.
Alison has been familiar with her current role of Anne Hathaway for a few years now and first did a reading of Shakespeare’s Will during Festival by the Marsh about 5 years ago. Since then is has been her desire to see a full production of the play come to the local stage. When director Stephen Puddle read the play last year he was also taken with the powerful script that Vern Thiessen had written and thus it was decided to mount the show.
Tickets for the coming production can again by purchased by phoning 536-1904 and you can also visit The Performers’ Company website at www.performerscompany.com, or look them up on Facebook.